Millennium Post

Letter from Sonia behind IAS service rule change?

In an RTI reply provided to Lucknow-based activist Sanjay Sharma, the prime minister’s office has said, ‘In the backdrop of the letter written by Smt Sonia Gandhi, the DOPT is in the process of affecting
amendments to AIS (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 which would subsequently need to be placed before the Cabinet for consideration/approval.’

The PMO refused to give further details on the issue saying, ‘Since the issue pertains to the Cabinet, it is exempted under Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act.’

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) ? which acts as nodal body for administrative matters related to Indian Administrative Service (IAS)-?is revisiting rules that outlines procedure for disciplinary action against an officer of the service.

The move comes in the backdrop of suspension of Nagpal, a 2010 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who had taken on sand mining mafia active in Gautam Budh Nagar district of the state. The 28-year-old officer was suspended ostensibly for ordering demolition of a wall of an under-construction mosque without following the due process.

Following the suspension, Gandhi, who is also National Advisory Council Chairperson, had written to the prime minister seeking adequate safeguards for officers. ‘We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated.

At the same time, this particular instance has highlighted the need to assess whether there are adequate safeguards in place to protect executive functionaries working beyond the average call of duty to uphold rule of law,’ Gandhi had written on August 2.

Gandhi had said implementation machinery must feel that the conditions are conducive to the delivery of public services without fear or favour.

If changes in rules are made applicable, they will also have bearing on two other All India Services - Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) - besides IAS.

The over 4,700-member IAS Officers’ Association had also suggested changes in rules including prior sanction of the Centre before any officer of the service is suspended by a state government among others.

‘Revisit all rules regarding All India Services, in particular ‘All India Services (Disciplinary and Appeals Rules, 1969, wherein a provision for seeking prior approval of central government should be made before suspending any IAS officer working under control of state governments,’ the association’s secretary Sanjay R Bhoosreddy had told a news agency.

He had recommended provision for serving of a ‘mandatory show cause notice’ to an officer seeking his or her explanation within a specified time period before suspension.

‘Only after perusal of that particular IAS officer’s reply to the show cause notice, suspension should be decided,’ he had suggested.
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