Amid reports that some 'tainted' employees have managed to leave the country without facing trials of their 'misdeeds', the Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday made it mandatory for all employees to get vigilance clearance for obtaining the passport.

"The passport to the citizens including government employee is issued on the basis of verification carried out by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The current system does not contain any mechanism as would help to deny the passport to such employees who are either under suspension or facing departmental inquiry or prosecution on account of serious charges," reads a government circular, issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) today.

Indian passport
Indian passportReuters

Currently, there is no need for vigilance clearance for obtaining a passport

Currently, a government employee is only required to inform his employer for applying for a passport on a prescribed form. All citizens including government employees have to get CID verification for getting the passport and there is no provision for government employees to get clarification from anti-graft bodies of the Union Territory.

Taking benefit of the present system, some employees, facing serious charges, have managed to leave the country by obtaining a passport on the basis of only CID verification.

J&K Government

Anti-graft panel brings matter before higher-ups

Anti Corruption Bureau, J&K has also brought to the notice of the government that the present mechanism for issuance of passports to government employees without obtaining requisite vigilance clearance results in the issuance of passports to those employees against whom vigilance cases are pending.

"Thus, there is an urgent necessity to instruct all the departments to issue the NOC for issuance of passport on the basis of vigilance clearance only", the order reads, adding, "It is impressed upon all the Administrative Departments/Heads of Departments to mandatorily obtain the latest vigilance clearance in respect of an employee applying for obtaining passport."

"The guidelines for obtaining passport have been reviewed by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India consultation with the Central Vigilance Commission and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and vide Office Memorandum No. F. No. 11012/7/2017- Estt.A-III dated 18th February 2020, elaborate instructions have been issued for obtaining fresh vigilance clearance while considering grant of passport to government employees," the order reads.

Panel already constituted to identify 'terror friendly' employees

The Jammu and Kashmir government had constituted a Special Task Force (STF) to identify and scrutinize government employees with links to activities that pose threat to national security.
The SFT is headed by J&K's intelligence chief R.R. Swain, who served for a decade in the Research and Analysis Wing before returning to J&K. The panel has been assigned the job to compile records of such employees and refer the same to the committee already constituted in July 2020 in this regard.