New Delhi: Noting delay in starting disciplinary proceedings against corrupt officials, the Centre on Friday directed all ministries and public sector undertakings under it to ensure timely completion of such actions.
It has also made it clear that "no promotion can be withheld merely on the basis of suspicion or doubt" against a government servant.
At present, a promotion can be denied if a government employee is under suspension or against whom a charge sheet has been issued and the disciplinary proceedings are pending. Also, the promotion may be denied to a government servant in respect of whom prosecution for a criminal charge is pending.
A number of cases have come to notice where initiation of disciplinary proceedings, issue of charge sheet or processing of the case is considerably delayed by the administrative ministries or departments.
"Such delays allow an officer whose conduct is under cloud, to be considered for promotion.
"It becomes essential in respect of officer(s) in whose case disciplinary proceedings are contemplated or pending and are included in consideration zone for promotion, necessary action be taken for placing the proposal before the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) so that vigilance clearance is not allowed," Department of Personnel and Training said in an office memorandum.
It said vigilance clearance cannot be denied on the grounds of pending disciplinary, criminal or court case against a government servant.
"The legally tenable and objective procedure in such cases would be to strengthen the administrative vigilance in each department and to provide for processing the disciplinary cases in a time bound manner.
"If the charges against a government servant are grave enough and whom Government does not wish to promote, it is open to the Government to suspend such an officer and expedite the disciplinary proceedings," the DoPT said.
It cited a Supreme Court judgement which said that en employee found guilty of misconduct cannot be placed on par with with the other employees and his case has to be treated differently.
"An employee has no right to promotion. He has only a right to be considered for promotion. The promotion to a post and more so, to a selection post, depends upon several circumstances. To qualify for promotion, the least that is expected of an employee is to have an unblemished record," the SC has held.
However, it further said "after the disciplinary proceedings are concluded and penalty is imposed, vigilance clearance will not be denied. "The details of the penalty imposed are to be conveyed to the DPC," it added.