One year after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has constituted a six-member committee, headed by J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, to look into cases related to government officials allegedly indulging in anti-national activities. The committee also comprises the J&K home secretary, the director-general of police, administrative secretaries of the general administration and law & justice departments, and additional director general of police (CID). The order invokes Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution of India.
What is Article 311(2)(c) of the Constitution of India?
No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges Provided that where it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed: Provided further that this clause shall not apply
(a) where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge; or
(b) where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank ins satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry; or
(c) where the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold such inquiry
The Article was not applicable to Jammu & Kashmir earlier when it enjoyed the special status granted to it under Article 370 of the Constitution.
What Constitutes Anti-National Activities?
There has been no clarification provided on the definition of “anti-national activities” by the Government yet. However, a senior IPS Officer at Jammu and Kashmir stated that “anti-national activities” could include actions perceived as “endorsing or promoting militancy”.
“The cases shall be referred by the administrative departments or police organization to the home department. On receipt of such a report, the home department shall examine the case and upon satisfaction that the case meets the requirement of Article 311(2)(c), it shall place the case before the committee,” a report says.
Punishment for Guilty Officers
A source said a thorough background check of government officials will be undertaken and action could be initiated if found to have been involved in “anti-national activities” even in the past. The action will range from suspension, fines, termination of services, and even legal proceedings in extreme cases.
Punishment for the erring officers will be differential and will depend on the degree of the offense. The punishment may include fines, suspension, termination of services, and legal proceedings in extreme cases.
As per the sources, the process of this background check has already started, and the UT might see the termination of the services of several employees in the next few months.