Srinagar, Sep 17 (PTI) Mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday denounced the governor administration’s latest vigilance clearance rules for its employees, terming them arbitrary and dictatorial and demanded their rollback.

The National Conference (NC) believes that the new set of rules are an upfront against the rights and privileges of employees, party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said.

Dar said the new order is yet another set of “arbitrary decisions” that undermine the perception of natural justice and basic human rights.

“The latest order is another addition to the 'laws of exception' being thrust on people of J-K. There was no need to have such an order in the first place as the service rules of government employees are already guided by various laws,” he said.

The NC spokesperson said the new set of rules has tightened the juggernaut around the necks of J-K employees “pushing them towards a state of despondency”.

“How can the employees work in such an atmosphere of suspicion? The dedication of our government employees is next to none in the country. The entire lot has been rendering their duties in the thick and thin of situations. Putting them under a cloud is not just unjust; it is highly disrespectful towards them,” he said.

Dealing with government employees with such “revulsion and suspicion” also does not augur well for work culture, Dar said.

“It is an act of wanton vilification by a government against its own arms,” he said.

The new set of rules, Dar said, “infringes” the fundamental rights of employees, who as per the new rules are liable to punishment if they fail to report their relative's offenses, if any.

“Why should an employee pay for someone else's crime? Similarly denying passports to employees based on vigilance cases cannot be a substitute for being proven guilty by the court of law. The latest rules have blurred the distinction between executive and judiciary.

“It also goes against the presumption of innocence; a legal principle that everyone accused of any offence is innocent until proven guilty. The administration has done away with the legal aspect of prosecution,” he said.

Dar said the order should be rolled back forthwith.

The People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone termed the new directive as “yet another diktat aimed at trampling upon the democratic rights” of the people and throwing the constitutional safeguards to the wind.

Party spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said the circular “is nasty and objectionable” and issued in a mad rush to “hound” the employee fraternity of J-K.

“In a legal jurisprudence, a person is liable and responsible only for his own sins and actions. One cannot be held responsible for someone else's actions unless he is complicit, conniving or conspiring with him. The Government Order is a flagrant infringement of fundamental rights of citizens and a violation of Right to Freedom guaranteed by Article 20 of the Indian Constitution,” he said.

Mir said once can understand a person's involvement in an illegal act or his association or sympathy with persons aiding and abetting commission of any illegal act but how can the government justify clauses which make a person liable for any act committed by his relative or acquaintance even though he might not be knowing what his relative is doing.

He termed the order not only unjust, illegal and unfair, but also unconstitutional, unethical and reprehensible and added that the present administration must refrain from “such blatant misuse of power and ruthless erosion of democratic values”.

The PC spokesperson urged the administration to rollback the order and not cause an “unnecessary stir” within the administrative set up of J-K.

CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami said the latest orders are another set of arbitrary decisions which need to be reconsidered.

"A government employee is a tool to implement policies of the government. If the same employee is made a suspect by doubting him and putting him in the basket of suspicion repeatedly, it will adversely affect his working and in turn affect overall functioning of the government," Tarigami said in a statement.

He said there was already a procedure laid down to deal with any employee involved in anti-national subversive activities and issuing new orders every now and then only created an atmosphere of suspicion.

"It seems, because of some ill advice, J-K administration is resorting to such an unwarranted course and to targeting its employees and thereby putting them under constant fear. If an employee is violating the law he must be dealt with according to the already laid down procedures, but this type of arbitrary approach is not good in a democracy," he added.

Tarigami said denying anyone a passport based on a vigilance case cannot be a substitute for being found guilty in a court of law.

"One of the most sacred principles of the justice system is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. How can the government deny a passport to an employee on mere registration of a case by vigilance?" he asked.

"The authoritarian orders issued by the administration are against the interests of the people of all the regions and communities. Instead of issuing such orders, the government must ensure that the rights of the people and their livelihood are protected," the communist leader added.