To punish deviant officials expeditiously, the government is set to strip ministers of a role in deciding penalties to be imposed on senior and middle-level officers in cases of proven misconduct.
This power is being delegated to the secretary of the department concerned. He or she would be empowered to act against deviant officials in consultation with the union public service commission or the central vigilance commission.
The move— cleared by the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee —will not only reduce delays but also keep the political executive out of “routine” disciplinary matters, an official said.
In 2009, sanction for prosecution was granted against 216 public servants, of whom 93 were sacked — dismissed, removed or compulsorily retired.
Under the new system, the ministers would have only the power to hear appeals from officers against whom a penalty has been imposed. They would also continue to decide on inquiries and penalties for officers of the rank of additional secretary and secretary. For the rest, secretaries would exercise powers of the appointing and disciplinary authority for the two categories of officers.
The two categories of officers include members of the All India Services — Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service — who are appointed by the President and account for the top 12% of the government’s staff strength. In the case of IAS, IPS and IFS officers, the secretaries of the ministries of personnel, home and environment would be the disciplinary authorities, respectively.