The government order says the STF will “speedily scrutinize such cases in a time bound manner”. (Representational Image)

By Bashaarat Masood

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has set up a Special Task Force (STF) to initiate action against government employees suspected of activities against “security of the State”.

The order has been passed under provisions of Article 311(2) (C) of the Constitution that give the administration power to terminate an employee without constituting an inquiry against him or her on grounds of security of the State.

“Sanction is hereby accorded to the constitution of a Special task Force… for identifying and scrutinizing cases of government employees, to initiate the process under Government Order No. 738-JK(GAD) of 2020 for action in terms of provisions of Article 311(2) (C) of the Constitution of India,” reads the order issued by the General Administration Department on Wednesday night.

The order adds that the terms of reference of the STF would include compiling records of “employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311(2) (C)” to refer them to a committee constituted by the government, “to engage with other members of the Terror Monitoring Group for identifying such other employees”, and “to take assistance of other agencies and departments in this regard” as needed.

While Article 311(2) says no government employee shall be dismissed or removed or “reduced in rank” except after an inquiry, its sub-section C says this clause will not apply “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 STF would be headed by the J&K Additional Director General of Police, CID, and include Inspectors General of Police, Kashmir and Jammu, a representative of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, and a representative of the department the employee belongs to.

The government order says the STF will “speedily scrutinize such cases in a time bound manner”.

Criticising the order, Communuist leader M Y Tarigami said, “This is arbitrary, draconian and is against the interests of the lakhs of employees working in the region. There are already enough provisions in the law to take action against those employees found violating service rules. There was no need to issue a new order on that count.”

He said the order can serve as a :”tool for the government and bureaucrats to suppress their subordinates”. “Dismissing an employee or taking punitive action without holding an inquiry is against the principles of justice and basic rights,” Tarigami said.

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