Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Writing IAS (Rtd) in letterhead by former IAS an impropriety, not offence: HC

IS THE use of titles like IAS, IFS, IRS etc. after retirement of an officer “highly irregular” and “quite unbecoming” that it attracts section 170 of the Indian Penal Code for which the punishment could be a two-year jail term. Here are interesting observations by two benches of Kerala High Court, latest one comprising…
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.

13 comments:

  1. Very informative article. A must read for every officer, from every service

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    1. a civil service officer is admitted to a service as member of that service eg member of administrative services, member of railway personnel services,member of foreign service etc. a retired service officer unlike other posts is continued as a member of that service in b register etc. anyway if the court considers it improper and one should use his last retired post then it may become worse as after retirement some people becomes governors etc. and perhaps it would be improper to write as governor....state retd. if they dont write anything then identity crisis would happen. perhaps supreme court may be able to decide that it is better to use ias retd.etc. as it is not just a service but a member of an elite service which brings credit to the country.

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  2. One enters the civil services as a livelihood option through an examination like the employees of a bank or LIC. IAS and other allied services are not degrees earned from an institution.For being an IAS or its ilk, every member of the service is paid. Once they are superannuated they are not supposed to use their name of the service which they worked in to impose their false distinction and importance over other citizens. It leads to creation of another class in the already unequal society. All the members of AIS should voluntarily shun the practice of using IAS etc to impose their authoritative past identity on society. I appreciate the wisdom of the Kerala High Court.

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  3. What about using Justice (retired)?

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  4. Then all the retired Justices and Supreme Court Chief Justices should stop using this honorific after retirement. So also for the retired Ambassadors.....using the judgement's version, 'After retirement use with his name “Justice’ or ‘Justice 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 “Justice"

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  5. Then even retired military ppl should not use their ranks before names

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    1. Military titles and Academic titles are protected under Article 18 of the Constitution of India. They are the only titles to be so protected.

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  6. we make easily issues out of non-issues. Country has many more problems to look in and not to these trivi
    als.

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  7. Can letters like IAS, IPS, IFS be used after one's name? I cannot find the source but CV Varad who was the one to challenge and remove the President's Standard on top of Rashtrapati Bhavan and replacing it with the Indian Tricolour also had challenged the use of the service letters like degrees. If I remember correctly, the SC had agreed and IAS etc. cannot be used after their names even while in service. Would appreciate comments and feedback.

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    1. please provide the details about the SC ruling. It will be of immense help to the citizen of this country where ias ips are creating another elite class.

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    2. I do not know the SC ruling but I do remember an article in an old issue of the Readers Digest which described some such contributions of CV Varad.

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  8. What's wrong if retd is placed after IAS IPS IRS etc. This is recognition to their service

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    1. what service ? not every human being of india does some service. is a farmer not doing service through which all stomachs are fed ? irrelevant and objectionable argument.

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