Commission both headless and member less.
BISMAH MALIK SRINAGAR, Nov 4:Fighting corruption has always been on top of the agenda of successive regimes. Keeping in tune with this formula, the present coalition government also made strong promises, regarding the eradication of this menace which has plagued and defamed the state of Jammu and Kashmir all over the country.
However, the very commission which was brought into force to curb the corrupt practices by the “public servants” called –Accountability Commission has been unaccountable for almost two years now.
In spite of the fact, that the commission during short span of its functionality made some brave discourses of the fraudulent involvement of cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and even so called investigative bodies in hushing up major scams, the action never really followed.
Coupled with that, the dubious selection and elevation of various members in the commission raised many eyebrows against the very genuineness of the commission.
And on the other hand, corruption grew by leaps and bounds
Sad but true, Jammu and Kashmir has shown an ardent consistency in being ranked as the second most corrupt state of India next to Bihar. Few years ago, a Berlin based NGO, Transparency International in collaboration with Centre for Media Studies, New Delhi rated J&K as the second most corrupt state in the country in its countrywide report on corruption.
Due to this shocking expose, the then coalition government established Accountability Commission with the retired judge of Supreme Court, Justice Sethi as its Chairman in 2005 with retired judges of high court, Justice G.L Raina and Justice Muzaffar Jan as its two sub-ordinate members. With Justice Sethi’s death, in 2007, Justice G.LRaina took over as the acting chairman with only one member.
That followed with Justice G.L Raina’s retirement and subsequently the end of tenure of Justice Muzaffar Jan as the member Accountability commission in April this year.
At present, the Commission does not have a chairman nor any active members besides its Secretary Mukhtar Ahmad Wani.
Ever since, the Accountability Commission is non-functional and non- accountable.
The last authenticated report which came in from the Commission was in the year 2005 and just one after its formation, the Commission was quick enough to furnish a report making some high-end revelations of the involvement of the various cabinet ministers, assembly members and senior bureaucrats involved in various illegal acts ranging from money scams, illegal appointments and drug-peddling cases.
According to Act-2002 of the commission, any court proceeding or hearing needs to take place in presence of the chairman. But the reliable sources confirm that though the commission showed pro-active behaviour in hearing some complaints initially, and referring the same to investigative agencies, the same is not possible now because of the absence of any chairing authority.
As a result, the number of complaints filed with the commission has shown a steady decline since people have starting loosing trust on the accountability measures promised by the government.
Appallingly, there has not been a single case or hearing filed with the commission which reached its fate which explains that the commission is purely an eye wash in the name of accountability.
Sources in the law department say that the appointment of some retired judges as the members of the commission is on the cards but the dilemma of whether this government would be able to revive the legitimacy of the commission is surely worth watching out for.