The Modi government has backed off from a plan to give the Centre blanket powers to quickly review instances of All India Service officers being unfairly suspended by the states and intends to only carry out minor changes in the deadlines.
Existing rules require the state governments that suspend an officer of the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service or the Indian Forest Service to get their order confirmed within 45 days. And there is little that the Centre can do if the state declares its intention to charge the officer with a major violation.
The Modi government tried to rectify this situation a few months ago and give the Centre powers to intervene if there are reasons to believe “that injustice is being meted out to a member of service”.
Protests from the states, however, appear to have prompted the Centre to drop this clause from its new proposal sent to the states on Monday.
“It is disappointing.... All that we had asked for was some protection for the honest officers,” said a senior IAS officer who had led demands for changing the rules in the aftermath of young IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal’s suspension in 2012.
Nagpal was an SDM in Gautam Budh Nagar, UP, in 2012 when she took on the local sand mining mafia and was suspended. Incidentally, Nagpal was last year posted as an aide to agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh.
The Centre’s previous draft had also proposed to drastically reduce the 45-day deadline for the government to confirm a suspension order down to 15 days. The new version gives 30 days. “So once an officer is suspended to fix him, he should not expect any relief before 30 days,” an IAS officer lamented.