Taming and Shaming the Bureaucracy-I

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Syed Fawad Ali Shah;
In the common man’s eye the word bureaucrat means a person who is a government officer with all powers and privileges. To some extent this perception is not wrong in toto yet Encyclopedia Britannica defines Bureaucracy as a specific form of organization defined by complexity, division of labour, permanence, professional management, hierarchical coordination and control, strict chain of command, and legal authority. In its ideal form, bureaucracy is impersonal and rational and based on rules rather than ties of kinship, friendship, or patrimonial or charismatic authority. This view is further elaborated by the German sociologist Max Weber who opines the advantage of bureaucracy as the most technically proficient form of organization, possessing specialized expertise, certainty, continuity, and unity. But Another German Philosopher and Sociologist Karl Marx views it differently. He calls bureaucracy ” a circle from which no one can escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general and so all are mutually deceived”. It seems that the incumbent PTI government under the premiership of Imran Khan firmly believes in the opinion of Karl Marx regarding bureaucracy. The federal government has promulgated new rules for bureaucrat a called the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules, 2020. The government has issued these under section 25(1) of The Civil Servants Act 1973. This has created a complete unrest among all the echelons of bureaucracy. The different service organizations of bureaucrats have showed their dismay over these newly promulgated rules. A careful perusal of these rules show that not only they have been drafted in haste but rather they have callously let down the most important part of the executive organ of the state. The definition part has explained for the first time the term “conduct unbecoming” in a most grotesque manner. It says “conduct unbecoming means the conduct on the part of à civil servant that is contrary to public interests or which harms his standing or the standing of the civil service in the eyes of the public or is contrary to any prescribed law/ ru?es/ procedures/ instructions and includes inefficiency on his part necessitating his directory retirement under these rules;”. If this formula of harming a civil servant’s standing in the eyes of the public is to be applied then principles of natural justice demand that there should be a well defined procedure to gauge the said standing. The only possible way is to hold a public opinion poll and that too on a very transparent and all inclusive manner. Only through such vote or referendum a civil servant’s standing in the eyes of the public can be measured accurately. Directory Retirement is a sort of punishment, which cannot be inflicted upon a Civil Servant without holding proper inquiry .it is against the Article 10-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which ensures “Right to Fair Trial”. The term “conduct unbecoming”, is a form of allegation, which has to be substantiate after due course and due process of law. The authors of the above rules have forgot to consult The Government Servants (Efficiency And Discipline) Rules 1973 where the same major punishment is already available under the head of compulsory Retirement. Directory Retirement is a sort of punishment, which cannot be inflicted upon a Civil Servant without holding proper inquiry .it is against the Article 10-A of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which ensures “Right to Fair Trial”. The term “conduct unbecoming”, is a form of allegation, which has to be substantiate after due course and due process of law. The authors of the above rules have forgot to consult The Government Servants (Efficiency And Discipline) Rules 1973 where the same major punishment is already available under the head of compulsory Retirement. -The writer is a senior Journalist He can be reached at [email protected]