Government must have ‘human face’: Ask Dr. Manmohan Singh
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Government must have ‘human face’: Ask Dr. Manmohan Singh

April 21, 2022

A few days back, I read what is generally known in journalistic parlance as ‘human interest’ story in News Trail, titled ‘Orissa High Court orders reinstatement of physically challenged teacher’ or what we call ‘differently-abled’ teacher.

The name of the teacher is Santosh Kumar Padhi. He had earlier served at a school (Kokodaguda) for three years as a helper (SikshyaSahayak). The school is located in Nabarangpur district of Orissa.

He was later appointed as a Junior Teacher in the same school with effect from April 28, 2014. However, he was ‘disengaged’ from service on February 5, 2018. Santosh Kumar Padhi then moved the High Court challenging the removal order.

The High Court passed the order on April 5, 2022, saying that ‘disengagement’ of the petitioner from service is unsustainable in the eye of law and quashed the order.

The judgment passed by Justice S.K. Mishra was tempered with so much of mercy that he directed not only the reinstatement of the teacher in service, he also ordered payment of full back wages and all other service benefits with effect from the date of Padhi’s disengagement. More importantly, the Judge’s order must be implemented within a period of four weeks.

This order relating to the time-bound payment of service benefits is specifically passed, probably because, as we all know, the bureaucrats habitually delay implementing any such orders for one reason or the other. We call it bureaucratic ‘red tape.’ Apparently, the learned, wise and compassionate Judge knew about the mindset and waywardness of the bureaucrats, no matter the beneficiary is a physically challenged person.

The school authorities had raised an objection (after so many years) against the Disability Certificate, saying that it is not in the proper statutory form. However, the school authorities had overlooked the fact that the content of the said certificate was proved to be correct. The kind Judge had observed “Mere technicality cannot stand on the way of conferring appropriate benefits on the person concerned.”

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The officer, who was the cause for Santosh Kumar Padhi’s troubles, was the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Wonder how many more differently-abled persons like Padhi must have suffered under this bureaucrat.

The Judge is so gentle and humane, that he observes “obviously the teacher cannot be blamed for the same (disability).” Padhi was subjected to test by the Medical Board twice and on both the occasions found the disability as the reality.

What the Judge Justice S.K. Mishra said further should be an eye opener to all Government officials and elected representatives and, of course, the Ministers. Justice Mishra said according to the report: “It must be kept in mind that the State is supposed to be a model employer and as such cannot be allowed to take actions that are arbitrary and not countenance in law.”

As I read this report, I was reminded of what our former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said as the Prime Minister. He assured the nation that “My Government will have a human face.” Of course, that assurance evaporated in thin air. He also had a second term in 2009 and his term ended in disaster for other reasons.

The report about this differently-abled teacher clearly shows the ‘human face’ of the judiciary while we could not find the ‘human face’ in the Government as promised by the then Prime Minister himself.

It is interesting to know the chronology of Santosh Kumar Padhi’s timeline-of-service in that school. He joined the school as SikshyaSahayak on Apr. 29, 2011, during the Prime Ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh, who spoke of ‘human face’ in administration.

That ‘human face’ continued to work its magic on Apr. 28, 2014 (Dr. Manmohan Singh was still the PM), when Padhi was appointed as a Junior Teacher in the same school.

However, paradoxically, Padhi was disengaged on February 5, 2018, when Narendra Modi was the Prime Minister. Whatever happened to the ‘human face’? Probably the bureaucracy thought that the ‘human face’ concept applied only to the period of the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Government and did not apply to Narendra Modi’s Government!

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However, luckily for Padhi, Justice S.K. Mishra was there to uphold the principle of ‘human face’ in administration.

This kind of incidents take us to a more serious question of the availability of legal protection to bureaucracy even when they make mistakes, knowingly or unknowingly, for reasons of corruption or vengeance.

When a citizen feels that he is unjustly treated by a Government Officer and reacts in an abusive or violent or resentful manner, there is protection to the Officer under the law. The Officer can file a Police complaint against the citizen-victim on the ground of obstructing a Government servant from discharging his duty.

Interestingly, today’s Deccan Herald carries a news item which says that a local Court in Mangalore has sentenced farmer Sai Giridhara Rai of Sullia taluk for two years of simple imprisonment under IPC Section 353 (for deterring public servant from discharging his duty) and other relevant sections.

The reason for conviction is that the farmer Sai Giridhara Rai had expressed his anger over frequent load shedding and low voltage at the then Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar over the phone. Beware of Government servants and Ministers.

If a Government Officer makes a mistake in his decision or action, he takes cover under the plea that it was a bona fide mistake.

This brings me to that noble precept engraved on the massive granite facade of our VidhanaSoudha, the Legislative Assembly building. The wordings are: “Government’s Work is God’s work” ( ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಕೆಲಸ ದೇವರ ಕೆಲಸ). Really?

Tailpiece: A news item in Deccan Herald titled “Top Court questions undue sympathy to delinquent officer” is also about the ‘sympathy’ these Government servants get from various constitutional and government quarters. We have some Soloman-like Judges and Officers to deal with these delinquent officers, but their number is negligible.

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7 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Government must have ‘human face’: Ask Dr. Manmohan Singh”

  1. Mann Ki Baat! says:

    Interesting that b Mr Ganapathy in reminding the readers about Pm Singh’s regime under which this episode occurred, and would not comment on the harassment of the contractor which resulted in his suicide, as a direct result of ta BJP state minister, and the notorious 40% commission, which the BJP state ministers introduced to line the pockets of theirs as well as their party MLAs. If PM Singh was to be held responsible as the teacher’s soory episode happening under his watch from New Delhi, so should PM Modi be condemned for the death of this contractor which happened under his watch from New Delhi.

  2. Satarawalla says:

    This poor person got the justice, and he did not die, unlike as the above poster says in the case of the BJP government’s 40% kickback insitence that caused the death of a contractor.
    Whatever Manmohan Singh’s faults were, he did not abandon his wife after marriage like Narendra Modi, and did not then give mothly moralising bull shit address called: ‘Mann Ki Bat’ to pontificate to Indians in his country.

  3. Dr. Shafiq Kassam says:

    Of all the problems India is facing, Mental retardation and disorder seems to be the very critical issue, I am a regular reader of SOM and reading all the articles and the responses they receive, and it is very evident that people over the course time have lost their mental balance for the past 8 years!

  4. Howdy, Modi! says:

    Hey Shafiq
    If any one has any mental problem, it is your Muslim brethren, who are fanatics nourishing your militant religion. See how they keep their women folk subjugated in in Burkas or Hijabs , and calling the thug Tipu Sultan as a freedom fighter!
    Mental problem manifests in Muslim terrorists when they blow themselves up killing innocent by standers all the time,, as their Imam instructed them, so that they could be welcome d in Heaven by dozens of Virgins!

  5. Well wisher says:

    Hey Howdy modi!
    Yes the world knows who is inciting the public to rape women of particular community . Take up arms and kill people of particular community in dharma sansads to name few. Swords, pistols and hockey sticks Carried in religious parades and peacefully resort to attacking particular community. Wow these are just the small number of good things that this majority in India are doing. Besh maga besh. The religion which allows Kama sutra is amazing!!

  6. Howdy, Modi! says:

    @Well Wisher
    Interesting that you mention Kama Sutra. But not the women are brought to be raped in Saudi Sheikhs Palace by the Sheikhs, who use all positions in Kamasutra, who give 20 lashes if others did it! Yes, they preach no alcohol, and come to the West and drink alcohol like their camels drink water. Do you know, who are the majority customers in the fleshspots of Bangkok, you guessed it, your Muslim brethren who keep their many wives in burkhas. Indian Muslims who breed like rats and form the 2nd largest population in the world claim as minorities in India. One can sketch Ram or Krishna, but try the sketch of their prophet, hey go mad and riot and kill whoever they see!
    Why stay in India, and not patriotic, as you Muslims love your religion fanatically and do not love the country!
    All Indian Muslims are Pakistan lovers. Imbeciles!!
    Keep praising your religion or if it is your friend’s religion, you will certainly go to heaven and have 66 virgins! When are you going to wear the suicide belt and explode yourself, to get those virgins?

  7. Kawakawaffoxgowda says:

    Hey Well wisher
    Or should I call you a Khan or Ahmad?
    While Muslim men force their wives to wear burkas -they can have as many as possible, and when these wives follow them on the road’ like moving tents, the men stare at other women who are not in burkas, mostly Hindus, and that stare is often wicked.
    Islam , a militant religion, hence the terrorists it produces, built mosques on the places of other religions-like Al Aqsa in Jerusalem on Salomon Temple, Babri Masjid on Ram Temple etc.. Very intolerant and violent religion of savages.
    @Well wisher. Here is an interesting story which happened during the last Indo-Pakistan war that l produced Bangladesh. A Muslin general practitioner-a family doctors, practicing in the VV Market area of Mysore, was arrested one day, after armed police raided his home. He was found to be transmitting to Pakistan, giving out the details of defence establishments in Bangalore, which he took photographs when he often visited Bangalore. For him his religion and Pakistani brothers are more important than patriotism. Patriotism and Muslims do not mix! This doctor was born, brought up and was educated in Mysore Medical College through the backward caste quota and yet he betrayed his country, for his religion!
    Many suggested to Gandhiji and Nehru at the time of independence to swap Indian Muslim population with Pakistan’s Hindu population, just like the Greece and Turkey when they became independent. It was Gandhiji who refused. Look, what happened to India today with these Tipu Sultan worshippers!

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