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Bureaucratsmust declare spouse's assets: Govt

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Bureaucratsmust declare spouse's assets: Govt

A government servant will have to declare the assets of the spouse even if he/she has procured it by his/her own income under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has clarified that the government official will have to do so even if the spouse has his/her own income or property under the new anti-corruption law.

“Yes. Clauses (a) and (b) of Sub — section (2) of Section 44 of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 does not make any exception in respect of assets procured by the spouse of the public servant by his/her own income,” stated the DoPT in a newly published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

In case, it stated, the spouse is also a public servant, both will have to file separate documents on their assets and liabilities. The requirement is binding on each public servant, irrespective of whether the spouse of the public servant is also a public servant or not, it added.

However, the biggest problem for the bureaucrats is that they will have to file details of assets and liabilities under the Lokpal Act as well as Conduct Rules as they have not been harmonised.

It said the requirement of filing of property returns under the existing Conduct Rules is an “independent requirement” under the applicable rules and the same can be dispensed with, only by amending those rules.

“In other words, the requirement of filing returns of assets and liabilities under the applicable Conduct Rules has to continue, till such time as the provisions of those rules are harmonised with the relevant provisions of the Lokpal Act and the rules framed there under, by carrying out appropriate amendments in them,” it added. The Centre had set a October 15 deadline.

According to the Lokpal Act, a government servant has to declare his assets and liabilities and that of his spouse and dependent children.

The general requirement in most of the Conduct Rules require the public servant to submit a return about immovable property owned by him, or inherited or acquired by him or held by him on lease or mortgage, either in his own name or in the name of any member of his family or in the name of any other person. 

He will also have to declare shares, debentures, postal Cumulative Time Deposits and cash, besides other movable assets in his name. 

Government makes it easy for IAS officers to return to Centre

IAS officers being repatriated to their parent cadre for appointment as Chief Secretary will not have to face "extended cooling off" period, making it easy for them to come back to central services.
NEW DELHI: IAS officers being repatriated to their parent cadre for appointment as Chief Secretary will not have to face "extended cooling off" period, making it easy for them to come back to central services.

The extended cooling off period was mandatory for officers who choose to go back to their parent cadre for availing their promotion or called by the state government before completion of their scheduled tenure at the Centre.

According to the rules, a Joint Secretary-level officer has a tenure of five years at the Centre after which he has to remain compulsorily for three years in state which is called as a cooling off period.

Similarly, an officer of the rank of Additional Secretary, having a four-year Central tenure, has to spend two years in the state before being again considered at the Centre.

However, if they went back before the completion of tenure at the Centre, the remaining term at the Centre was added to cooling off period and known as "extended cooling off" period.

According to December 24, 1999 order, the cooling off period of the officers going on premature repatriation was calculated not from the date of actual repatriation from the date he would have completed normal deputation term.

" has been decided that in future in case where any officer is being repatriated to his cadre to be appointed as Chief Secretary, the condition of imposition of extended cooling-off period would not be attracted," latest order from the Department of Personnel and Training said.

The order will mean that officers joining state government as Chief Secretaries before completing scheduled central deputation can revert after serving only cooling off period which is three years for Joint Secretary officers and one year for Additional Secretary at the Centre.

HINDU, JUL 13, 2015

Defamation should remain a penal offence: Home Ministry


Conditions not congenial forcivil liability”

Denying that criminal defamation had a chilling effect on free speech, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Saturday that defamation should remain a penal offence in India as the defamer may be too poor to compensate the victim.

The government said that since there was no mechanism to censor the Internet from within, online defamation could only be adequately countered by retaining defamation as a criminal offence. A person would be charged with criminal defamation only if his speech had no social utility or added nothing to the value of public discourse and debate.

Besides, the Centre said, criminalisation of defamation was part of the state’s “compelling interest” to protect the right to dignity and good reputation of its citizens.

The submission was part of an affidavit filed by the Union Home Ministry in response to petitions filed by political leaders cutting across party lines urging the court to declare criminal defamation unconstitutional.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal are among those who filed the petitions.

Dr. Swamy, who filed the lead petition, said criminalisation of defamation deterred free speech, was liable to abuse and choked the legitimate criticism of public officials.

If found guilty under Sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code, a person could be jailed up to two years.


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