Millennium Post

SC bats for babus, says written orders, fixed tenure must

In order to insulate civil servants from political interference, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the central and state governments to issue appropriate directions, within three months, providing minimum tenure of service to various civil servants. It also said that the civil servants cannot function on the basis of verbal or oral instructions and directed authorities to issue directions within three months in this regard.

A bench comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said that Parliament must enact a law to regulate postings, transfers and disciplinary action against bureaucrats. It also said that civil services board should be constituted at the central and state levels. ‘We notice, at present, the civil servants are not having stability of tenure, particularly in the state governments, where transfers and postings are made frequently, at the whims and fancies of the executive head for political and other considerations and not in public interest.

‘Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable the civil servants to achieve their professional targets, but also help them to function as effective instruments of public policy. Repeated shuffling/transfer of the officers is deleterious to good governance. Minimum assured service tenure ensures efficient service delivery and also increased efficiency,’ said the court. Holding that much of the deterioration in bureaucracy is because of political interference, the bench said that that there must be some records to demonstrate how the civil servant has acted, if the decision is not his/her, but if he is acting on the oral directions, instructions, s/he should record such directions in the file.

‘If the civil servant is acting on oral directions or dictation of anybody, he will be taking a risk... Recording of necessary for instructions, fixing directions responsibility is, therefore, and ensure accountability in the functioning of civil servants and to uphold institutional integrity’, said the court.
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