Appointment of IPS officer as principal secy, sports, illegal: KhemkaUpdated: Jan 24, 2020 23:07 IST
Raising an objection over the posting of an IPS officer as principal secretary, sports and youth affairs, a cadre post of IAS officers, Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka on Friday wrote to chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar to say that the appointment order was defective and illegal.
A cadre post means any of the post specified for each cadre in the schedule to the Indian Administrative Service (Fixation of Cadre Strength) Regulations, 1955. The state government had, in an administrative reshuffle on Wednesday night, appointed IPS officer OP Singh as principal secretary, sports and youth affairs. Singh is also the special officer (community policing and outreach) in the chief minister’s office and had previously held the charge of sports director also.
Khemka, a principal secretary rank officer himself, who had held the charge of sports and youth affairs for about 15 months before being shifted out in March 2019, said in his communication that only a cadre officer can occupy a cadre post. “Appointment to a cadre post cannot be made without following the procedure established in the Rules. The recommendation of the Civil Services Board chaired by the chief secretary is mandatory for appointment to a cadre post of the IAS. It is not only unfortunate but illegal if the officers in the chief minister’s office (CMO) replace the Board in matter of transfer and postings of IAS and IPS officers,’’ Khemka wrote.
The IAS officer, known for his speaking his mind, said that appointment of an outsider to the post of principal secretary without affording equal opportunity to similarly placed individuals was in contravention of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution. “Those who could not enter the IAS through UPSC cannot hold a cadre post of the IAS through backdoor,’’ he wrote.
Also, he said, that since some principal secretaries were under employed, the appointment of an IPS officer as principal secretary is a drain on the public resources. “Unless the IPS officer is surplus in his own cadre, he must serve on his own cadre post. If this order will not stand legal scrutiny in the courts, it will set a bad precedent. Nothing will stop future chief ministers from destroying the institution of All India Services by citing this illegal and bad precedent. As brought out in a masterly insight by two Harvard professors, Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson in their celebrated book - Why Nations Fail, it is strong institutions which make a nation great. I have faith that as chief minister you will protect the constitutional institution of All India Services created under Article 312 by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” Khemka concluded.