Gujarat govt insulates officials from FIRs

Gujarat govt insulates officials from FIRs
The Gujarat government has directed police not to file an FIR (First Information Report) against public servants without satisfying themselves of the prima facie allegations and illegality in the case.

The home department has instructed police to cross-check the charges levelled by complainants, lest they could have approached the police out of grudge against the official. This, the order reads, is being done to maintain high morale of public servants. “Public servants, during the course of their official duty, tend to anger some individuals with their actions. They in return seek to lodge FIR with police against the public servants who have initiated action against them,” a senior official said.

“The state now wants to avoid such incidents as the information about the complaint or FIR becomes public. This hits the morale of public servants and tarnishes the image of the government,” he added.

According to the notification, the police should lodge an FIR only if they find the complainants’ claims to be prima facie legitimate. The Congress has slammed the government’s notification.

“This notification goes against the spirit of Constitution, which treats everyone as equal. Now, the state government wants separate treatment for its officers,” said senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil.

In a related development, Congress leader Indravijaysinh Zala has challenged the government move in Gujarat High Court alleging that it was a move to protect corrupt public servants.  “Instead of setting up a strong Lokayukta, they are resorting to such tactics that would hurt the rights of citizens. This gives special status to public servants as there is no deadline for completing the primary investigations,” he told Deccan Herald.

“If we apply their logic to cases of fake encounter in the state, none of the policemen would have ever been punished as there would be no FIR against them.”

He also alleged that the state was trying to protect the vested interests of politicians within the government and senior public servants.  “This will see rise in corruption and nepotism. Would any official be convicted by his or her boss if he or she is carrying out orders from the top? This will only make officials unanswerable to the people,” he added.
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