AWARENESS OF THE RULES IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR – Article from Mr. K.V.Sridharan

AWARENESS OF THE RULES IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR

  • There are several positive orders issued by the Directorate and also provided in the Volume III. While drafting defences we are not given due credence to those instructions.
  • Department of post is such a big organisation with multifarious functions spread over the country with enormous procedures, manual and volumes. This kind of huge volume of manuals, rules are not available in any Government departments other than the Postal Department.
  • Even in the absence of updated manuals, guides, the new entrants were forced to produce declarations at the time of their appointment as if they have studied all the rules and regulations including the conduct and disciplinary rules which is not practically feasible. The intention of the Government is nothing but to place them with the responsibilities in case if anything goes wrong.
  • In other organizations, like banking sectors, millions of amount is being written off as a loss due to bad debts. Even in Postal, the power of written off any quantum of amount is vested with the Postal Board with certain conditions; this has not been implemented only in the case of operative side officials.
  • Crores of rupees are being spent on experiments by the officers on various projects, Melas, functions etc. But the Postal bureaucracy is very keen to recover even a single paisa from the employees under one pretext or the other by misusing the provisions of the contributory negligence. The introduction of air carrier to North East resulted with the loss of crores. But none was identified as an offender. The Unions at the initial stage itself pointed out that it will result only loss.
  • There was a dacoity taken place at Munger HPO in Bihar and around 35 lakhs were looted out from the treasury by breaking the locks in the strong room during the period when the curfew was clamped. There were 11 armed guards deployed and brought on rotation to watch the PO. However, the poor Postmaster and APMs were proceeded with the charge sheets on flimsy reasons for keeping excess cash on the previous days without liabilities etc and the department attempted to recover the loss sustained to the department.
  • In another case, the SPM who has been provided with post attached quarters residing in the upstairs was held responsible for the burglary since he had not taken bed in the office on the date of burglary by misquoting the old and obsolete orders issued many decades before. Out dated rulings and orders emanated during the British raj are being very conveniently misused by many officers in the cases of recoveries imposing against the innocent officials.
  • Earlier, the Postmasters are personally responsible for transit entries and watch over the remittances as per the rules. Whether the same is practically possible to the Head Postmasters who have been now entrusted with many business related additional works? When any fault occurs anywhere in the sub office, the Head Postmasters are being brought under the net by citing the rules without minding the other extenuating factors.
  • If the Postmaster is responsible for the works mentioned in the manuals and guides, he can attend only those works and could not do the other works now newly introduced? Who will care all these when something goes wrong?
  • Even the Postmasters, APM Accounts were being proceeded under these rules for non-receipt of bank scrolls and recovery inflicted for the frauds committed by some others. Seven years before in Tamilnadu circle, recoveries are being resorted in lieu of SB minus balances. The recoveries are being ordered even for the period, the officials who had not practically worked.
  • The failure on the part of the administration of a prompt agreement of SB balances has simply been ignored. Many innocents were being proceeded on this core. The power vested with the Postal department under Rule 18 of PO SB General Rules 1981 to recover any excess amount paid to the depositors as arrears of Land revenue has never been taken due note of before ordering recoveries from the innocent officials.
  • However, because of the Circle Unions effort in many divisions the minus balance to the extent of lakhs were written off. That was possible because the case was properly taken by the circle union.
  • Even the interests paid to TPF accounts despite clear orders are being recovered in the Bhimavaram division by issuing charge sheets at the time of retirement. However due to the intervention of CHQ, the recovered amount had been refunded during my period to the extent of sixty lakhs.
  • The frauds committed by SAS Agents are also being brought under this net of contributory factors and recoveries are being ordered in many places against innocent counter PAs and the APMs/Postmasters.
  • But one thing we have to accept that our present generation does not show any interest to possess the knowledge of departmental rulings and to exercise some restraints in the work which the officers capitalise to impose the punishment of recovery without much difficulty.
  • We should understand the implication of rules and the ruling knowledge can alone save us from many actions unilaterally unleashed by imposing the contributory factors under the existing shortage of staff.
  • What is the reality prevailing at the ground level now? Whenever an officer asks the officials to give a statement, without hesitation the officials are giving the statement and in most of the cases it was as per the dictates of the officer who is obtaining the statement.
  • They are not even checking first whether they were on duty that particular day. They are not confirming whether the work was performed by them. They are not referring the rules before giving statements. One has every right to ask time to give statement.
  • As per law, nobody should be forced to testify against himself and refusal to give statement could not be construed as misconduct. Whenever seeking statement, one should demand to see the vouchers or records. After confirming one’s role, he should consult with the knowledgeable persons before giving such statements.
  • One should never give statements as per the dictates of the officers who came to him only for the purpose to entangle him in the case and not to save him. In the circumstances, what will be the role of the divisional unions and the activists?
  • An official can be punished for his fault but he should not be suffered due to the misconduct of another.
  • Trade unions should play an effective role to plead for the innocents.
  • Efforts should be made to recover the loss from the main offender by confiscating his properties.
  • Educate the members and guide them to be cautious to prevent such frauds.
  • Numerous orders were issued by the Department to protect the innocents. Those should be popularized.
  • A team of well-trained comrades on disciplinary/Staff rules must be pooled in each division to counter the attacks.
  • When a fraud came to notice, the divisional administration did not evince any interest to confiscate the property of the BPM who committed the frauds and later it proposed to recover the amount under the contributory factors.
  • The divisional union, Prakasam division in Andhra circle conducted a series of programs including March to revenue office and finally the entire loss was made good by confiscating the properties of the BPMs. It is possible. The divisional unions should evolve strategies and programs according to local situations for which the knowledge and prudence are a must. 

Thanks to Mr. K.V.Sridharan
Courtesy : https://yourskayveeyes.blogspot.com/

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