The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has laid down a defined procedure to be followed by government organisations for getting vigilance clearance before employing a retired official on contractual or consultancy basis.
In a letter to the Secretaries of all the Central government Ministries and departments, chief executives and chief vigilance officers of the public sector undertakings, the CVC said the absence of a uniform procedure sometimes led to a situation where officials with tainted past or cases pending against them were engaged.
“Such a situation not only leads to unnecessary complaints/allegations of favouritism, but is also against the tenets of fairness and probity which is the basic principle governing the functioning of government organisations,” said the Commission.
According to the procedure, before offering employment to the retired officers of the All India Services, Group A officers of the Central government or their equivalent in other organisations owned or controlled by the Centre, vigilance clearance from the employer organisation, from which the officer has retired, should be necessarily obtained.
In case a retired officer had served in more than one organisation, clearance has to be obtained from all of them where the person was posted during the 10 years prior to retirement. Simultaneously, a communication seeking clearance should also be sent to the Central Vigilance Commission.
If no reply is received from the erstwhile employer (s) within 15 days of sending the communication by speed post, a reminder can be sent for expediting the process. In case there is no response within 21 days of the initial communication, vigilance clearance should be deemed to have been given.
Later, if the former employee is found involved in any vigilance related matter or not cleared from the vigilance point of view, the erstwhile employer organisation would be responsible for all consequential actions.
The CVC said the posts to be filled up on contractual/consultancy basis should be advertised properly at least on the organisations’ website and made available in the public domain for all the interested persons.
“Cooling off” period
In the case of retired officials taking up full time or contractual assignments in the private sector, the Commission said quite often the “cooling off” period was not being observed and the act constituted a serious misconduct.
Therefore, the CVC directed all the government organisations to formulate appropriate rules for its employees to ensure the cooling off period was observed before accepting any offer. The guidelines should include a procedure to get permission before accepting such an offer during the period.
The conduct rules should also be modified to ensure that if required, appropriate action can be initiated in case of any violation by the retired employees, said the Commission.