Is State Accountability Commission another toothless tiger?

Srinagar: The State Accountability Commission (SAC) has recommended only 20 cases of corrupt bureaucrats and politicians for perusal and further action by the government since its inception. The government, for its part, has however taken no action against anyone as in many cases the accused have challenged the powers exercised by SAC through writ petitions before the High Court and managed to get stay orders on the commission’s final recommendations.
SAC had been constituted under Jammu and Kashmir Accountability Commission Act 2002 to inquire into grievances and allegations against public functionaries and for matter connected therewith.
According to official documents, SAC has so far given final recommendations in 20 cases involving 42 bureaucrats and politicians to the government for further necessary action. But in 14 cases the accused have used the High Court stay orders to prevent any action by the government against them while six cases are awaiting follow up action from the competent authorities.
All these cases were registered before the commission during 2005-07 and decided by it up to 2008. However, the government, according to sources, hasn’t applied for vacation of the stay orders in any of the case during the time or taken any step to punish the accused.
For example, former member of the Legislative Council, Mohammad Sultan Ganie alias Panditpuri, approached High Court in 2007 and managed to get stay order on the recommendations made by SAC against him to the Governor to take necessary action as may be deemed fit.
In another case, Ghulam Nabi Qasba, the then Registrar Cooperative Jammu, approached the High Court in 2007 to get the stay order on the final recommendation of the SAC asking Cooperative Society Department to take necessary action against him by dismissing him from service under rule 30 of J&K Civil Service (Classification, Control and Appeal), Rules of 1956.
Also the case of Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad, former Deputy Director Estates, is awaited for the follow up action from the competent authority since 2007 after SAC made recommendation to the competent authority to impose appropriate punishment against him.
“Corrupt officials and politicians have used the court orders to save themselves from any action while the government’s inaction in any of the case has virtually turned the Commission toothless tiger,” an official from the SAC told Kashmir Reader.
According to the official, “there are scores of cases against corrupt government officials and politicians pending before the commission since 2008 and they are trying to scuttle the independence of the commission by moving court.”
He said that in 2012, the state government objected to powers of the SAC to issue suo motto notices and take action against any public functionary after it exercised such power in two cases.
In the recently concluded Budget Session of the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah informed that there are inquiry cases pending before SAC against Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chad, three other sitting ministers, six former ministers, a sitting MLA and 32 serving and retired officials.
Besides Tara Chand, others facing inquiry include Roads and Buildings Minister Abdul Majid Wani, Medical Education and Sports Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Transport Minister Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, and former ministers—Gulchain Singh Charak, Mangat Ram Sharma (former Deputy CM), Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Sofi, Suman Lata Bhagat, A G Sofi, and sitting MLA GM Saroori.
The Chief Minister said while the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had stayed cases pertaining to Taj, Sharma and Wani, the record pertaining to cases against Charak and Yaseen has been summoned by the court.