New Delhi: Agitated over recent suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal in Uttar Pradesh, representatives of three All India Services associations have demanded changes in rules to check such "arbitrary" and "malafide" abuse of power by state governments.
The representatives of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) associations have met Minister of State for Personnel, Public grievances and Pensions V Narayanasamy and demanded that the power of suspensions should be vested with the Centre instead of states in case of officers working in their jurisdiction among other changes.
"It is relevant to bring to your kind attention that since early 1990s more than 175 IAS officers have been suspended of which more than 100 IAS officers have been suspended in the State of Uttar Pradesh alone," the representatives said.
"These facts, which are matters of record, speaks for itself the misuse, rather abuse of this delegated power to the state government, whose duty is to protect the honest, sincere and public spirited officers in their discharge of their official public duties," said Sanjay R Bhoos Reddy, Secretary of IAS officers` association, in a memorandum given to Narayanasamy here yesterday.
The failure of Government of India to intervene in this matter would render the working of the All India Services as well as of other Public Servants virtually impossible and would eventually result in a state of anarchy and destroy the very fabric of rule of law that was intended by the framers of the Constitution, he said.
"Needless to say that arbitrary, ad-hoc, baseless and malafide suspensions of the AIS officers by the State Governments, who are not the Appointing Authority, of the AIS officers has led to lot of anguish and resentment among the AIS officers across the country," the memorandum said.
The associations demanded a mandatory provision for the governments to issue a `show cause notice` with a minimum period of 15 days to any officer before suspension and for states to compulsorily seek prior concurrence of the Government of India to suspend the officer giving the facts and the grounds for suspension.
IPS officers` association secretary Pankaj Kumar Singh said analysis of various instances of suspension indicates that quite often tough action by a particular officer in public interest and against a powerful vested interest group, had preceded his or her suspension.
The suspension orders in such cases were issued based on some unrelated instances of so called `breach of public interest`, Singh said. The recent case of Durga Shakti Nagpal (IAS, UP cadre: 2010 batch), and an earlier case of Mr Ajay Misra (IPS, UP cadre: 2003 batch) are a few examples to quote, Singh said in a memorandum.
"There have also been increasing instances of officers getting suspended only for deflecting the adverse public reaction against the government, as in the case of Mayank Srivastava (IPS, CG cadre: 2006 batch), unmindful of his excellent track record, professional competence and even his efforts in addressing the relevant incident."
"In majority of such instances, officers were later re-instated after the departmental enquiry or even before that stage, as no substantive material could be found against them to support the charges levelled," he said and echoed the demand of change in rules raised by IAS officers association.
The Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Association also cited with concern the recent spate of suspension of a number of All India Service officials on very flimsy grounds including the cases of Umendra (UP cadre: 1981 batch), Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Uttar Pradesh, Atibal Singh (UP cadre: 1986 batch), K Praveen Rao (UP cadre: 1987 batch), Dr BC Brahma (UP cadre: 1997 batch) and Durga Shakti Nagpal, SDM, Gautam Budh Nagar.
"The officers mentioned above had displayed highest commitment to the duties assigned to them, exemplary courage and conviction to uphold the rule of law and establish transparency in implementing government policies and programmes for the citizens."
"But, the manner in which the officers have been suspended by the Govt of Uttar Pradesh has a demoralising impact on the entire cadres of the All India Services."
"The above suspensions set an unfortunate trend of taking action without following due process of law and justice and has shaken the faith of officers in justice and fair play," said AR Chadha, the secretary of central IFoS officers` association.
The associations had also met Secretary of Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) SK Sarkar in support of their demands.
The meetings with the Minister of State for Personnel and DoPT Secretary came in the backdrop of controversial suspension of Nagpal by the Uttar Pradesh Government on July 27.
The 28-year-old SDM, who had taken action against sand mining mafia active in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, was suspended ostensibly for ordering demolition of a wall of an under-construction mosque without following the due process.