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IAS officers will no more act on oral orders: Supreme Court

By Deepak Nagpal | Last Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 14:23

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Central and state governments to usher in bureaucratic reforms, lamenting that political interference was affecting the functioning of bureaucracy.

Passing the directives on a public interest litigation filed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian and 82 retired bureaucrats, the apex court directed the Centre and state governments to pass order within three months on giving fixed tenure to civil servants.

It also directed the governments to set up civil services board within three months.

“Parliament should enact a law to regulate transfer, posting and disciplinary action of IAS officers and to immunise them from political interference,” a bench headed by Justice K S Radhakrishnan said.

“Much of the deterioration in the functioning of bureaucracy is due to political interference,” it added.

The SC said frequent transfers of bureaucrats should be avoided , while noting fixed tenure will promote professionalism, efficiency and good governance.

The court also stated that IAS officers will no more take oral instructions from their political bosses. Civil servants should act only on the basis of written communication, the bench also comprising Justice PC Ghose added.

The judgement comes close on the heels of controversies surrounding Ashok Khemka, IAS officer of Haryana cadre over DLF-Robert Vadra land deal, and Durga Sakhti Nagpal, UP cadre IAS officer, who was targeted by the state government for alleged misconduct.

The petitioners also include former Indian Ambassador to the US Abid Hussain, former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami, former Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy, former IPS officer Ved Prakash Marwah, and former CBI directors Joginder Singh and D R Kaarthikeyan.

"This is a landmark judgement. Public servants are not private servants," said Subramanian.

"Today faith in our Constitution has been reaffirmed...Our faith in the strength of democracy has been reaffirmed because the highest court of the land has recognised the problems," he said, adding "malgovernance affected people and quality of administration".

First Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:22
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