The re-employment of principal secretary to Haryana chief minister (PSCM), Chhatar Singh under provisions of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, has sparked off a debate in the state bureaucracy.
Singh, who retired from the civil services on March 31, 2013, was a 1980-batch IAS officer and has been chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's principal secretary for over three years.
The state government ordered his re-employment under Section 9 (1) (a) of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, which says that a cadre post in a state will not be filled by a person who is not a cadre officer except if there is no suitable cadre officer available to fill the vacancy.
The argument against
However, many in the state bureaucracy are raising doubts over Singh's re-employment. The line of reasoning being taken is that Section 9 (1) (a) of the Cadre Rules cannot be read in isolation and has to be read in conjunction with Section 9 (2) of the rules.
Section 9 (2) says that a cadre post shall not be filled by a person who is not a cadre officer except in accordance with the following principles - if there is a select list in force, the appointment shall be made in the order of the names in the list; if it is proposed to depart from the order of names appearing in the select list, the state government shall make a proposal to that effect to central government together with the reasons therefore and the appointment shall be made only with the prior approval of the central government and if a select list is not in force and it is proposed to appoint a non-select list officer, the state government shall forthwith make a proposal to that effect to the central government together with the reasons therefore and the appointment shall be made only with the prior approval of the central government.
If this be the case, the IAS Cadre Rules could not have been brought into play at all for Singh's post-retirement appointment on the cadre post of PSCM. The reasons are obvious - the select list being referred to Section 9 (2) of the Cadre Rules is the list of officers who are recommended for promotion from the state civil services to the IAS by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). So, in Singh's case, the provisions of the Cadre Rules could not have been applied.
The counter argument
Senior Haryana officials who handled Singh's re-employment issue, however, are of the view that it would be incorrect to interpret that sections 9 (1) and (2) of the IAS Cadre Rules have to read together in conjunction.
Chief secretary PK Chaudhery said that Singh's post-retirement appointment as PSCM under section 9 (1) (a) was as per the rules.
"Assuming that the two sections are to be read in conjunction, then 9 (2) supersedes 9 (1) and there will not be any need for 9 (1)," said an official.
Officials in the union ministry of personnel, too, endorsed this view quoting a precedent - the post-retirement appointment of 1981-batch IAS officer Dilip Kumar Kotia as PSCM to the Uttarakhand chief minister.
Kotia, who retired in September 2012, was given a post-retirement appointment under Section 9 (1) (a) of the IAS Cadre Rules for three months. After the expiry of three-month tenure, Kotia was given a stint of three more months with the prior approval of the central government.
The IAS Cadre Rules say that if it is proposed to continue the person who is not a cadre officer beyond a period of three months, the state government shall obtain the prior approval of the central government for such continuance.
"The central government's approval to allow Kotia's continuance on a cadre post beyond the initial three months in fact ratified the Uttarakhand government's decision to give him post-retirement appointment under Section 9 (1) (a) of the Cadre Rules," said a central government official.
A communication of June 1959 issued by the ministry of home affairs, too, substantiate this fact - "IAS/IPS officers are treated as non-cadre officers after their retirement. Their re-employment on cadre posts shall be regulated by Rule 9 of the IAS Cadre Rules, 1954. As regards re-employment on non-cadre posts, the state government rules will apply."