Faced with uncomfortable questions on the lack of clarity in allowing some of its officials to continue in service after retirement, the government has conceded that post-retirement appointment on contract basis is not covered by the rules defining extension of service.
The government’s view has come in the form of replies to questions in both Houses of Parliament on the grant of extension for coal ministry secretary and appointment of law secretary on contract basis for a period of a year and 11 months.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), in its reply to Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi, has stated that “government servants are allowed to continue in service after 60 years in rare and exceptional cases.”
Owaisi wanted to know why the continuation in service of Central government officials beyond the age of 60 years was not being treated as a violation of government’s own rules.
The DoPT has made it clear that decisions in such matters are taken “on a case-to-case” basis and has also given its view on officials being employed on contract. “Appointment of an officer after superannuation (after retirement) is not covered by the provisions of Fundamental Rule 56, which deal with extension of service,” the department said in its reply.
The DoPT has stated that All India Services Rules, 1958, provide for extension in service in public interest “only to the incumbents of five posts — cabinet secretary, defence secretary, home secretary, director of Intelligence Bureau, and director of Central Bureau of Investigation.”
On the question of promotion chances of serving officers being hampered by extensions and employment on contract of retired officials, the DoPT has stated that the government is committed to ensure “promotion aspects of long-serving bureaucrats are not hampered.”
The DoPT’s reply, however, is not in line with law minister Salman Khurshid’s reply in the Rajya Sabha last week on the appointment of law secretary on contract.
Khurshid had stated that such an appointment was done “since there was a need for a high-level technical person towards handling of law”. This particular criterion does not find mention in the existing list of government rules which allow continuation of officials beyond the age of 60 years in particular fields.
Apart from the five posts mentioned above, the government rules allow specialists in health services, scientific field, those dealing with budget work and full-time members of a committee to be wound up soon, to continue in service after retirement.