DailyPost 1930

The governance of India finds its sustenance on a day-to-day basis at the cutting-edge level and at times way up to the top through a tool called suspension. This generally does not happen with the unravelling of any misdoing or dereliction, favouritism, nepotism or corruption of which there are numerous examples, in peace time. Peace time means when there is no pressure. Peace time can also mean whatever might be the magnitude of the problem or the issue, if it can be managed, there is no suspension. In the order of priority it would happen in ascending order; lowest to mid-levels, very rarely moving further. Exceptions are always there to prove the rule. The poorer cousin of suspension is transfers, the most resorted tool used for a variety of reasons, albeit in public interest.

There can be any number of valid reasons for suspension to happen or to be resorted to. Legality apart, time when it is used, more often than not, is to buy time, in a crisis situation. Instead of a hardcoded disciplinary tool, the likelihood of it being just a whimper, turns out to be the oft repeated story. Without much of a focus, scrutiny, analysis and research it would occur to your mind, without being an expert on it, that suspension turns out to be the best of the evils, that he might land into at that point of crisis, for his conduct, action, omission and what not. Suspension was supposed to bring a salutary impact on the organization and a deterrence to those who want to get into the wrong route.

Instead, they have picked the tools of managing the ill impact and be back in business as soon as they can. The results of the enquiries that follow such suspensions have their own way of moving forward, if they do, and deliver some findings even after the cows come home. And then you can have any number of winding appeals and legal procedures that can keep biding time without much hassle. The lucky / connected ones sort it out in no time. Whatever happens to the individual is another story, how does it impact the quality of governance and its accountability. What do people think of such actions in the backdrop of numerous of these suspension dramas and barely anybody reaching the gallows?

In the process what has happened is instead of officers and down the line being suspended for whatever reasons, it has come to a stage where we can call the present status as Suspended India. Abeyance, evasion and not biting the bullet is the name of the game. The routinization of suspension for anything but correctional and disciplinary, emboldens that lot, for whom power is to be exploited and disempowers the people, who supposedly are the final masters. Has it improved our governments and governance one bit in the last so many decades? What is people’s perception of governance, out of what they are facing / experiencing  on a day to day basis? After transfers, suspension too is going the same way, putting every positive / proactive work in a limbo. Comfortable status quo is the name of the game.


Sanjay Sahay

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