Other States

J&K government staff face tighter passport rules

The Lieutenant Governor’s administration on Thursday further toughened the process of issuance of passports to around 4.5 lakh employees in Jammu and Kashmir by making the Vigilance department’s clearance mandatory, besides the other police verifications.

“It is impressed upon all the administrative departments, heads of departments to mandatorily obtain the latest vigilance clearance in respect of an employee applying for obtaining passport,” Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, commissioner secretary, said in an order.

The order said the current system did not contain any mechanism that would help in denying the passport to such employees who were either under suspension or facing departmental inquiry or prosecution on account of serious charges.

“The Anti-Corruption Bureau has also brought to the notice of the government that the present mechanism for issuance of passport to government employees without obtaining requisite vigilance clearance results in the issuance of passport to those employees against whom vigilance cases are pending,” the order reads.

Earlier, an employee would get a passport after the two-layer police verifications — from the local police station and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

According to the order, the guidelines for obtaining a passport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, in consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The L-G administration has been acting tough against the employees who had either expressed their politics on social media platforms or been associated with any separatist groups.

Earlier, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s two sons and a teacher associated with the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) were among other 20 employees whose services were terminated under the amended Article 311 of the Constitution of India, which requires no official inquiry before termination. In such cases, the termination of service could be based on the police or an official report and should be satisfactory enough for the Lieutenant Governor to take a final call.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration in August this year directed all the field units of CID’s Special Branch-Kashmir that “during passport verifications and any other verification related to government services, schemes, the subject’s involvement in law and order, stone pelting cases and other crime prejudicial to the security of the state be specifically looked into and the same must be corroborated from local police station records.”

Besides, all the Administrative Secretaries have listed the government servants who have completed 48 years of age or have 22 years of service in a process to “identify ineffective employees”.

A Special Task Force (STF) was also constituted in April this year for identifying and scrutinising the government employees who are involved in any cases related to posing threat to the country’s security or anti-national activities.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 3:50:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-government-staff-face-tighter-passport-rules/article36503050.ece

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