Prime Minister’s Office says Civil Servants Efficiency and Discipline Rules, 2020 will ensure transparency, internal accountability
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday approved the Civil Servants Efficiency and Discipline Rules, 2020 to enact reforms that seek to improve the working of the bureaucracy and other state institutions.
A notification issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stressed that the rules would ensure transparent and effective internal accountability of civil servants. It said the salient features of the rules were:
- To speed up the process of accountability, the tier of Authorized Officer has been eliminated, leaving only the Authority and Inquiry Officer/Committee.
- The two-tier process will resolve the issue of decision of disciplinary proceedings at lower level by awarding minor penalties by the Authorized Officer, without seeking approval of Authority.
- Timelines have been introduced at every step of the proceedings, with submission of response to charges required within 10-14 days; time for completion by Inquiry Committee/Officer capped at 60 days; the Authority tasked with deciding the case within 30 days. Previously, noted the statement, no fixed timeframe was available to conclude the proceedings, resulting in cases sometimes lingering for years.
- To facilitate just decisions of the cases, opportunity of personal hearing shall be provided by the Authority/Hearing Officer.
- For the first time, plea bargain and voluntary return have been included in the definition of misconduct, and any civil servants who avail these shall now be proceeded against.
- Procedural issues relating to provision of record, slackness on part of departmental representatives, suspension, proceedings against officers on deputation/leave/scholarship, etc. have been clearly provided.
- Establishment Division has been authorized to issue subsidiary instructions/clarifications to avoid any delays.
- In case of multiple suspected officers in a single case, restriction of appointing a single Inquiry Officer has been imposed to ensure transparency and avoid different decisions in a single case.
- In case of PAS/PSP officers posted in provinces, a two-month timeline has been provided to the chief secretary for submission of fact-finding report, failing which Establishment Division can proceed on its own.