chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice K Vinod Chandran. In fact, a case was registered against KS Premachandra Kurup, a former IAS officer and former director of state-run Cooperative Academy of Professional Education (CAPE), that he misused the IAS title by using it after retirement, and hence he should be punished under section 170 of IPC. The of writing IAS after retirement is highly irregular and quite unbecoming of an officer, it was alleged by the state government.
The section 170 of the IPC says: “Whoever pretends to hold any particular office as public servant, knowing that he does not hold such office or falsely personates any other person holding such office, and in such assumed character does or attempts to do any act under colour of such office, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
A single bench of Kerala High Court in an order dated November 23, 2012, observed that “use of naming such service with or without suffix ‘retired’ by a former member is an impropriety, but, certainly it cannot be treated as an offence, nonetheless an offence under Section 170 of the Penal Code.” The order pronounced by Justice SS Satheesachandran, however, clearly said: “To use with the name either IAS or IAS (retd.) after leaving the service, no doubt, is not proper.”
The state government, which was not happy with the single bench judgement quashing the FIR, filed a review petition. But the larger bench comprising chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice K Vinod Chandran on Monday validated the order by the single bench. The problem between the state co-operative department and Kurup cropped up when Kurup filed an affidavit in the high court alleging that he was asked to conduct recruitment based on a list forwarded by cooperation minister CN Balakrishnan’s office when he headed CAPE after retirement. Kurup was CAPE’s director for one year between June 2011 and June 2012.
This is what the bench comprising chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice K Vinod Chandran said in its judgement: "Looking at the totality of the facts and circumstances, we cannot but say that if such bickering in administration lead to initiation of criminal prosecution, it is very unfortunate. We leave it at that.”
Here are excerpts of Justice SS Satheesachandran’s order dated November 23, 2012:
To use with the name either IAS or IAS (retd.) after leaving the service, no doubt, is not proper. IAS is only a service, and the selection thereto is based on Rule 7 of the Indian Administrative Service (Recruitment) Rules, 1954 and the Indian Administrative Service (Appointment by Competitive Examination) Regulations, 1955.
After retirement use with his name “IAS’ or ‘IAS retd.” does not arise. He can use only the post which he held with his name as retired after retirement from his service, and not “IAS retd.".
A cursory look into Government Order removing petitioner from service would show that even in that communication what is stated is that “the services of Sri. K.S. Premachandra Kurup IAS (Rtd.) as Director CAPE is replaced with immediate effect....”. That G.O. issued by the Order of Governor is signed by none other than the Secretary, Co-operative department who later sent communication later to the successor Director of the CAPE, the present incumbent, to prosecute the petitioner for the offence under Section 170 of the Indian Penal Code. Where Government Order itself recognized and used IAS (Rtd.) with the name of the petitioner to order his removal from service why should the petitioner be found fault with for having used I.A.S. in his letterhead or correspondence.
As stated earlier use of naming such service with or without suffix “retired” by a former member is an impropriety, but, certainly it cannot be treated as an offence, nonetheless an offence under Section 170 of the Penal Code.