Any Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer working under the central government can be suspended only with approval from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, new service rules said on Wednesday, a move aimed at allowing bureaucrats to work without fear of political backlash.
The amended norms also provided relief to all-India service – IAS, IPS and IFoS – personnel working with state governments, saying the Centre needed to be informed within 48 hours of the suspension of any officer, and a detailed report has to be submitted within a fortnight.
The changes assume significance in the light of a slew of allegations by officers such as Ashok Khemka, Durga Shakti Nagpal and Kuldip Narayan that they have been targeted with arbitrary suspensions and transfers by political regimes for discharging their duty.
“The government’s aim is to eradicate corruption from the bureaucracy and we also wish to provide officer-friendly environment so that none of the officers is intimidated by any of the government rules and give their performance,” minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh told PTI.
“The new rules will also encourage honest officers and ensure justice for all.”
The new rules also cut short to two months -- from three months -- the period of suspension of an officer by the Centre and states. The order of suspension, if extended, will now be valid for four months as against the existing six months period.
“IAS officers working under central government shall only be suspended on the recommendations of the central review committee as amended with the approval of minister-in-charge, department of personnel and training (DoPT),” the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Amendment Rules, 2015 said.
The PM is in charge of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions, under which the DoPT is a department.
The three-member central review committee will be headed by DoPT secretary and will have establishment officer and another secretary of the ministry concerned, as its members.
The new rules said as soon as a civil servant is placed or deemed to have been placed under suspension, the information has to be communicated to the government of India expeditiously.
A copy of the suspension order along with the reasons or grounds of suspension should be communicated to the cadre-controlling authority (DoPT for IAS, home ministry for IPS and environment ministry for IFoS) in the central government “not later than forty eight hours”, the fresh norms added.
There was no such time-limit in the existing rules.
An order of suspension, which has not been extended, shall be valid for a period not exceeding sixty days and an order of suspension which has been extended shall remain valid for a further period not exceeding 120 days, at a time, unless revoked earlier, the new rules said.