AP: IAS officers want change in rule to fix charge

Hyderabad: In the wake of the arrest of a senior official in an illegal mining case, the IAS Officers Association here is seeking a change in the business rule book to incorporate a new clause that mandates specifying at whose behest a particular order is being issued.

The clause, if it comes into effect, will make it mandatory for specifying at whose behest a particular order is being issued -- be it the CM, the minister concerned or even a superior officer.

"This fixes the responsibility and nails the guilty in case of any eventuality," a high-ranking bureaucrat pointed said.

Though the IAS Officers Association is serious about this, the Andhra Pradesh government is said to be disinclined to entertain the proposal.

Following the arrest of senior bureaucrat Y Srilakshmi in the illegal mining case, a serious internal discussion is taking place in the Association these days on the do's and don'ts to be followed when bureaucrats are pressurised by political bosses to do a thing that is not in accordance with the rules.

"Follow the rule book scrupulously. Put down everything in black and white, leaving no room for suspicion" is the general advice that senior IAS officers are offering their juniors these days.

With regards to the Srilakshmi case, the general view among the bureaucrats was that she was "doing things in anticipation" often going overboard.

"She was, no doubt, a bright and confident officer. From a nondescript post of Commissioner, Sugar, Srilakshmi became Secretary, Industries, and was probably overwhelmed. That could have made her too obligatory to her political bosses," the bureaucrat noted.

"It's, of course, a warning for all bureaucrats that we need to be 'balanced and normal' while taking decisions. What happened in AP between 2004 and 2009 is no secret but there were many officers who refused to budge even when they were so forced," a Principal Secretary said, citing the case of the then Transport Secretary AK Tigdi as an example.

"Tigdi was transferred but that's the best the political bosses do. If we budge, we may have to pay a price at some point of time," the Principal Secretary added, citing Srilakshmi as an example.

"Irrespective of whether or not the business rules are amended, we need to introspect our role and responsibility as bureaucrats. Introspection is required among seniors on whether they should caution the juniors if they are going wrong. The junior officers should share with the seniors any issue for guidance," an IAS officer said.