Two IAS officers have been reprimanded by the Chhattisgarh government for not wearing formal attire at official functions to receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the state last week. One of the officers was pulled up for wearing sunglasses in the PM's presence.
Bastar collector Amit Kataria and Dantewada collector KC Devasenapathi were informed through official letters that their actions did not conform to the All India Services (Conduct) Rules.
Modi made his first visit after becoming the Prime Minister to Bastar region’s strife-torn Dantewada district on May 9. He spent a few hours with tribal children in areas affected by left wing extremism and launched two major development projects.
Photos taken at the time show Kataria, an IAS officer of the 2004 batch from the Chhattisgarh cadre, was wearing a bright blue shirt and sporting sunglasses when he received the Prime Minister along with Chief Minister Raman Singh.
By the time he saw off Modi, Kataria had changed into a white shirt with black stripes and still had his sunglasses on. Devsenapathi was seen wearing a white shirt in Modi’s presence.
The letters, copies of which were accessed by Hindustan Times, were sent to the two officers on May 13 by the special secretary of the General Administration Department (GAD).
“It has come to the notice of the government that you were not wearing formal attire when you received the honourable Prime Minister and that you received him while wearing sunglasses,” said the letter sent to Kataria.
The letter sent to Devsenapathi, an IAS officer of the 2007 batchfrom the Chhattisgarh cadre, only said he had not worn formal attire while welcoming the Prime Minister.
The official missives said the officers’ actions were not in line with section 3(1) of the All India Services (Conduct) Rules of 1968 which states: “Every member of the service shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the service.”
Kataria and Devsenapathi were warned not to repeat actions which amount to a breach of decorum by an officer of the IAS.
A senior officer of the GAD, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The manner in which the officer (Kataria) presented himself was against the given rules. There are certain set conventions to be followed by civil servants as stipulated in the General Book Circular.
“There are dress codes for different occasions like ceremonial functions, attending the high court, VIP visits or even attending training at the (IAS academy in) Mussoorie.”
However, the GAD officer added that wearing sunglasses was not much of an issue.
Kataria declined to comment. "I received the letter from GAD today. But I have nothing to say on that," he told Hindustan Times.