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Govt approves fresh changes to Code of Conduct for ministers

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 22:28

New Delhi: Seeking to check the misuse of bureaucrats by ministers for political purposes, both at the Centre and in the states, the government on Thursday approved fresh changes to a 50-year-old Code of Conduct for the political executive.

The meeting of the Union Cabinet approved amendment to the Code of Conduct for Ministers to add a new clause aimed at checking the political executive from misusing bureaucrats for political purposes.

According to the Cabinet proposal, it will also help check civil servants from cultivating political patronage.

While the fresh clause will come into effect at the Centre immediately, it will be sent to the state governments for their adoption.

"The proposed amendment will enable the political executives to guard against the trend (of) so-called attractive transfers and postings (which) continues to allure civil servants. This will also enable civil servants not to act in any way which would conflict with their duties and responsibilities," the Home Ministry proposal said.

This is the second amendment to the Code of Conduct which came into being in 1964.

Though the code for Union ministers, chief ministers and ministers of the respective state governments has no legal backing, still, it is expected of all the ministers to "scrupulously" adhere to the instructions mentioned in the document, the proposal said.

The new Paragraph 2 (f) will now read as: "After taking office, and so long as he remains in office, the minister shall:- uphold the political impartiality of the civil services and not ask the civil servants to act in any way which would conflict with the duties and responsibilities of the civil servants."

The recommendation to include the new paragraph was made by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission. But due to an oversight it was not included.

The prevailing Code of Conduct expects ministers to furnish annually - by August 31 - to the Prime Minister, or the Chief Minister, as the case may be, a declaration regarding their details of assets and liabilities and also of family members for the previous financial year.

The ministers are also expected not to "personally, or through a member of his family, accept contribution for any purpose, whether political, charitable or otherwise. If any purse or cheque intended for a registered society, or a charitable body, or an institution recognised by a public authority, or a political party is presented to him, he should pass it on as soon as possible to the organisation for which it is intended".

First Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 22:14

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