Heads of govt depts to act on online graft complaints against subordinates

Thiruvananthapuram: Departmental heads will act first on the corruption complaints filed online against the government officials from now on. Complaints are to be made on the dedicated portal - www.janajagratha.kerala.gov.in - developed by the government as part of the Corruption-free Kerala programme.

Complaints submitted on the 'Jana Jagratha' portal will be addressed by the superior officer of the employee, against whom the allegations were raised.

Currently, 700 offices linked to the Chief Minister's portal and 40 departments at the Secretariat have been linked to the portal.

Initially, it was proposed to entrust the complaints to two officers in the home department at the Secretariat. But after other officials, during a high-level meet, said that the complaints would pile up before them, the new system was mooted. Questions were also raised over what criteria they would handle the complaints.

How to handle complaints at first

If the public have to make a complaint against an official on the portal, they would need to answer nine of the 10 questions, marked with an asterisk. Mandatory questions, marked with the asterisk, include the official's name, office, department, district, designation, and its description. Only if these answers are given, the complaint can be submitted on the portal.

Then the departmental head concerned would receive the complaint online. The department's chief can decide on factors such as the veracity of the complaint and whether a probe was needed.

But the chief can also close the complaint file without seeking permission from anyone. If the subordinate, who is facing the allegations, is the chief's partner in corrupt practices or is close on a personal level, the file could be closed. Several departmental heads in the state are facing Vigilance probes or are involved in cases.'

Vigilance next

But if the decision is to go ahead with the probe, it can be handed over to the Vigilance bureau. Or in the case of departments with an internal Vigilance unit, the probe will be handed over to it.

The Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and IT Secretary can check the number of complaints being submitted on the ‘Jana Jagratha’ portal daily.

Likely impact

Though the chief minister had announced the programme in January, the launch was held only on February 19 after fixing the technical snags. Ten complaints were received on that day and around the same number of complaints were made the next day.

The government has assured that the details of the complainant would be kept confidential. But several people refrain from making the complaint as the complainant is required to give evidence as well. Also, several people are not in favour of the superior officer of the accused official acting on the complaints. Officials suspect that this could discourage the filing of complaints. However, some comment that the portal did not get much attention as it got lost amid the CM's inauguration spree ahead of the assembly polls.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.