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Blow to corruption, pseudonymous complaints to be entertained
NEW DELHI, MAR 28 (AGENCIES)
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Published on 29 Mar. 2010 12:10 AM IST
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In a blow against corruption, the Manmohan Singh government has done away with the requirement to disclose your name and address while lodging a complaint against a bureaucrat. You can simply drop a complaint against a corrupt official either anonymously or using a pseudonym. All you have to do is write a properly framed complaint addressed to the cabinet secretary.
This is for the first time that pseudonymous complaints will be entertained by such a high-powered committee headed by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekar, who will not only call for the relevant files and records but may also seek the income tax and property returns of accused officers. The practice so far had been to dump anonymous and pseudonymous complaints in the garbage bin.
After scrutiny of complaints, the government promises to take prompt action. All government officers, including the secretaries of various government ministries, will be covered under the new rule, a copy of which was accessed by DNA.
Officials in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that the change in rules has been made keeping in mind the fear people had earlier while making complaints. “The general public or junior officers were afraid to lodge complaints against the top bureaucrats and senior officials simply because they had to disclose their identity. This would often lead to threats and harassment by the officials against whom they had complained.
That’s why not many complaints were lodged,” said a senior official in DoPT.
But the PM, who is also the minister concerned for DoPT, took this unusual step to infuse confidence among citizens to expose corruption. In an order issued vide circular no 104/100/2009-AVD.I, the DoPT said: “The procedure regarding handling complaints against secretaries to the government of India, whether pseudonymous or otherwise, has been attracting attention of the government. It has been observed that under the system presently prevalent, complaints against secretaries are sent to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) or the administrative ministries concerned for examination and necessary action. Sometimes frivolous or vague complaints are also given importance meant for grave complaints. It is considered appropriate that complaints against secretaries to the government of India are scrutinized carefully and appropriate action taken based on their gravity, seriousness and the nature of the allegations.”
Besides the cabinet secretary, the committee includes the secretary to the Prime Minister, secretary (coordination) in the cabinet secretariat, secretary of DoPT, and secretary of the Central Vigilance Commission.
Complaints against secretaries will be first scrutinised by this group which can close them if found frivolous. But if the preliminary scrutiny of the complaint indicates that there is some substance in it or there are verifiable allegations, then the group will call for the files and records, including annual tax returns, of the officer concerned.
“If after scrutiny it is felt that there is some substance in the complaint, a view would have to be taken by the group regarding the nature of the investigation called for and an appropriate recommendation made in this regard,”the circular said.

 
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