Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ministry of Defence (India) declassifies the Report of the Committee of Experts on litigation and allied issues

In a step towards greater transparency, the Defence Minister of India has ordered the declassification of the Report of the Committee of Experts constituted for reduction of litigation, review of service and pension matters and strengthening the institutional mechanisms of redressal of grievances. The panel had submitted its Report on 24th November 2015.

The Raksha Mantri has already directed all wings of the Ministry of Defence to submit an “Action Taken Report” on the same.

The entire Report has been placed in public domain on directions of the Raksha Mantri and can be downloaded from the official Ministry of Defence website. The errata page at the end of the Report has not been updated though.

It was for the first time after Independence that such a committee had been instituted and at the time of submission of the Report the Members had thanked the Minister for taking such the historic step to minimize litigation and grievances in the Ministry of Defence so that the focus could remain on the core issues of governance and administration. The Expert Panel had also thanked the Minister for ensuring that there was no interference in the Committee’s functioning and for encouraging the panel to come up with honest, dispassionate and objective observations without fear or favour.

As per the Ministry’s official press release at the time of submission of the Report, the Committee’s approach remained to identify practical on-ground solutions to reduce litigation, especially appeals, and steps towards reduction of heartburn, maintenance of harmony between employees and the establishment and balancing of rights of both parties which could lead to an increase in productivity and enable the Government to focus upon its basic responsibilities. As per the release, the Committee had postulated practical, workable, reformatory and gradual solutions in its 509-page report encompassing 75 recommendations in areas concerning service and pension matters, discipline and vigilance issues, matters concerning promotions and confidential reports, military justice, issues related to civilian employees and other potential areas of disputes.

If you look closely, you would find a mention of Mr Eugene Fidell in the Report. :)

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