At least 38 civil servants were demoted or terminated between 2014 and 2018 on administrative disciplinary actions, according to records maintained by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC).

The commission’s annual report, 2018-2019, states that agencies through their respective human resource committees (HRC) also took administrative actions against 64 civil servants.

During the last two years, the RCSC received 89 administrative cases from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The report explained that in 2017, the ACC and RCSC established an understanding that cases forwarded by ACC to RCSC will pertain only to administrative matters of the civil servants.

However, other cases related to corruption are dealt by the ACC in line with its mandate.

Although there was no mention on how many civil servants appealed for administrative disciplinary actions, the report states that a civil servant aggrieved with the decision of the disciplinary committee of the agency has the right to appeal to the appellate authority.

There were a few cases where civil servants appealed to the court on HR audit finding decision rendered by the RCSC. It was also observed that there were several in-eligible promotions granted by the agencies without fulfilling the minimum promotion criteria.

“Based on the HR audit report findings, RCSC revoked such promotions,” the report states.

Two civil servants appealed to court against the decision to revoke their promotion. The case is still with the court.

The commission also saw cases of non-adherence to letter of undertakings, for example higher studies and scholarships. The report specified recipients of scholarship in the department of adult and higher education (DAHE) who failed to return and work for the country as intended and required by the scholarship terms and conditions.

The report also states that Royal Audit Authority had issued audit memo to the RCSC regarding MBBS doctors who did not return upon completion of their studies from AIIMS before 2016.

“This happened due to lack of proper monitoring of long-term studies and lack of proper protocol in handing-taking-over of undergraduate students between the RCSC and DAHE,” the report states.  “The DAHE is expected to hand over the students to the RCSC upon completion of their studies.”

However, a tight protocol has been established on the handing-taking-over of undergraduate students and undertakings are also updated where the students and guarantors should sign it.

The Commission made concerted efforts to track all such past cases. It managed to appoint most of them in the civil service after making them sit for the BCSE and sign additional bonds with few that are pursuing higher degrees.

Only two doctors chose to refund their study obligation and the Commission accepted as per the rules and regulations in force.

Meanwhile, with the revision of the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations 2018, the Commission has introduced an alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

The purpose of ADR mechanism is to probe causes of misconduct together with the employee and to jointly identify means of correcting the unacceptable conduct.

The report stated that ADR would normally be applied in cases of a less serious nature of misconduct where there is room for change and improvement and where a trend has developed. The ADR includes mediation, counseling, guidance, or training for less serious offenses with civil servants whose conduct needs correction.

Yangchen C Rinzin