If Secretary Level Officers of State do not follow Govt. orders, how will a common man obey them?: Madras HC

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The Madras High Court on Friday noticed the lack of response by the state government official in implementing the Government Order passed in 2010 to ensure a corruption-free and transparent administration in the State of Tamil Nadu.

The Madurai Bench of the High Court noted,

Even though the said Government Order has been passed in the year 2010, none of the Departments has taken any effective steps to implement the said Government Order.”

The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi observed that an Administrative Reforms Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Dr. Justice A.K. Ranjan, retired Judge of Madras High Court, to ensure a corruption-free and transparent administration. The Government also had accepted certain recommendations of the committee wherein one of the recommendations was for fixing accountability on every Government Servant, at every stage at every level.

The Court further observed that the government had requested all the Heads of the Departments to issue necessary orders to this effect while delegating the powers, even though the same was not implemented properly.

The bench observed,

if the government servant is not complying with the orders of the Government, the same can be treated as misconduct or as becoming of the Government Servants, warranting initiation of appropriate departmental proceedings against them.

As per the court, unless any circulars or instructions will not be issued by the State Government on the implementation of these recommendations, the guidelines as recommended by the committee over the corruption-free state will lie only on the paper.

The bench also cited the maxim Ignorantia Legis neminem excusat which means no one can excuse law, even a common man cannot be ignorant of the law and remarked,

“When that is the position for a common man, what would be the responsibility of the Secretary Level Officers in such a manner, then who could be expected to obey the Government Orders?”

The Madras HC posted the matter for further hearing on 22 December 2020 expecting a positive response from the state government.


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