In a move that could help All India Service officers (AIS) suspended for standing up to politicians, the Centre may soon have blanket powers to revoke their suspension if it concludes the order was unfair to the officer.
The Centre’s discretionary powers are part of a new set of suspension rules for AIS officers proposed by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) that will cover officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.
If the suspension rules are revised, the Modi government will have powers to “review any order passed under these rules, if there are reasons to believe and to be recorded in writing that injustice is being meted out to a member of Service”.
This will be helpful for officers reluctant to file a formal appeal against their suspension orders.
DoPT started reviewing the suspension rules in 2012 after a public outcry over the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal.
The 2010 batch officer, posted as a sub-divisional magistrate in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar, had rubbed politicians the wrong way when she took on the local sand mining mafia and was suspended.
Last month, Patna municipal commissioner Kuldip Narayan faced political wrath and was suspended for going ahead with demolitions of unauthorised structures. As the Centre watched helplessly, the Patna high court had to step in to stay Narayan’s suspension.
To avoid this, the new rules -- apart from informing the Centre immediately about a suspension order -- require the state to get the order vetted by a panel of top civil servants within a week. After that it will have seven days to get the order confirmed from the Centre.
Existing rules give the state government 45 days to get the suspension order confirmed by the Centre or start disciplinary proceedings. This is the only occasion when the Centre can intervene.