Corruption is one issue which has always taken a back seat in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Basically, one of the prime reasons for that is the severity of other issues that are confronted by the state government.
However, the issue of corruption in government offices has gained mammoth proportions as the number of corruption complaints has grown over a period of six months now.
Reports have suggested that during the last eight months corruption complaints have been recorded against 500 Government servants including 283 Gazetted Officers.
Even a department-wise data shows a rising curve of complaints of corruption in the State. This is despite loud claims of the Government that efforts continue to reduce corruption by adopting certain preventive measures.
The question is essentially of accountability. This is the crux of the issue. Corruption in departments in the State is a long standing problem and each regime that comes to power raises hue and cry about corruption prevailing and assuring the people that it will take steps to eradicate it. But at the end of the day very little or usually nothing is done to eradicate the menace.
Either it is practically difficult if not impossible to establish allegations of corruption for want of convincing evidence or that the investigating agency works in connivance with the accused. Both of these possibilities are there. Our laws are comprehensive and time consuming.
Previously, allegations of corruption were brought against about 70 functionaries of the CPAD Department. Inquiry was set up and cases were framed. Some cases were even completed and submitted to the court for prosecution. But prosecution process is so lengthy and comprehensive and time consuming that many among the accused functionaries retired from service and took all pension benefits that normally accrued to them before the case of corruption was finally decided.
What is ironic is that officials even died and the cases they were allegedly involved in were never proved or unproved against them. Therefore, the issue of accountability became a complicated question. We are not aware what alternative can be suggested that would ensure quick decision on cases of corruption. This is what the legal luminaries of the State and the country could study and recommend.
However, an ordinary citizen thinks that the Government is seriously dealing with cases of corruption. But then the din subsides in a few days and everything returns to normal as if nothing had happened. Within a few months, the entire case is hushed up and we hear no more about it.
Importantly, the numbers and figures about corruption or mentioning how many cases of corruption have been added during past one year or six months have no bearing. What matters is the fact that corruption is a menace and depravity and has to be tackled effectively. It was argued that with the rise of economic standards, corruption will automatically end. But this opinion has been belied.