Monday, September 12, 2016

IAS officers seek legal assistance from the government to fight court cases, if needed

IAS officers have appealed to the Central government to revisit laws such as Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, so as to protect officers both working and retired. A delegation of Central IAS Officers’ Association led by its honorary secretary and 1989 batch Uttar Pradesh cadre IAS Sanjay Bhoosreddy met MoS in PMO and personnel Jitendra Singh on Sunday and sought appropriate legal assistance for the officers to fight court cases, if any. The demand has come in the backdrop of…
former union coal secretary and 1971 batch retired IAS HC Gupta’s refusal to take legal assistance in a coal block allocation case, saying he could not afford a good lawyer. Gupta is now in jail, but both serving and retired officers have in one voice vouched for his honesty.
The IAS officers’ delegation further urged the minister to ensure that honest and sincere officers are protected for taking ‘bona-fide’ decisions in public interest, and that they do not feel deterred or shy in their initiative to take administrative decisions, a statement issued on Sunday by the ministry of personnel said. 
In fact, if the government has its way, prosecuting a Central government officer even below the rank of a joint secretary, could turn out to be difficult in the days to come, as the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, currently pending in Parliament, may alter the current provisions. Minister Singh assured the officers saying that the government is seriously keen to make sure that IAS officers’ initiative is not deterred on any count, adding that the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Parliament would take care of many of these aspects. He said, for example, the provision to prosecute an officer, which was earlier available only at the level of joint secretary and above, is now sought to be made applicable in case of officers at every level, the same statement said. 
The minister further mentioned how the government has undertaken some changes in the provisions for the IAS officers working in the states as well. For example, according to new guidelines, if a state government suspends an IAS officer, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) — the cadre controlling authority of the IAS — needs to be intimated within 24 hours. Similarly, the charges framed against the officer will also have to be intimated to DoPT within a period of 45 days, the minister added.
The IAS officers in their memorandum to the minister also highlighted the issues relating to officers who come on Central deputation, resulting in difference in their pay scale, sometimes resulting in heavy financial loss. They further stated that many officers in the rank of joint secretary are sometimes reluctant to come on Central deputation because of this anomaly to their pay scale and hence demanded a correction in the pay, so to encourage officers to say "yes" to Central deputation.


  1. Whenever a finger is raised on an executive officer during post scrutiny of files particularly by CAG, strangely integrated finance officer who cleared the proposal is not questioned on his logic in clearing the proposal. Similarly in cases where advice of legal adviser of concerned ministry is taken, the legal officer should be held accountable for his advice. Many cases of so called corruption arise due to inter and intra cadre rivalries. It is high time that watchdog organisations viz CAG, local audit etc are comprised of officers drawn from different cadres including those having vast administrative experience on the pattern of constitution of Central Administrative Tribunal where administrative member patiently listens to the Govt view and refrains from passing strictures on administration for certain procedural delays or anomalies etc. The IAS association must demand amendment to the existing method of audit where audit officers leave accountability of their own cadre officer without any remorse.

  2. The IAS officers association’s appeal to GOI for amending PC Act (1988)and CrPC ( 1973) to help the serving and retired officers in litigation matters by hiring for for them eminent lawyers out of tax-payers funds. The demand from an “ elite “ association is irrational , reprehensible and fraught with dangerous repercussions. Similar demands from “ aam “ Services to protect officials at lower echelons, could not be resisted.
    Former coal secretary H C Gupta refuses to take legal assistance in coalgate scam on the plea that he could not afford a ‘ good lawyer ‘.Way out is simple? Let him co-operate with CBI investigations and reveal the roles of all black sheeps under Congress-led UPA dispensation, who might have manipulated him.
    Coming close on the heels of coal scam, Association’s motive seems suspect. What,it means in actual ? If, a retired or serving delinquent officer is under prosecution by the CBI on charges of corruption,as per IAS association’s proposition , GOI or State govts should have the responsiblity to arrange an ‘ eminent lawyer’ to defend the accused in the hierarchy of courts (Trial courts to Supreme court )against the CBI and its advocates. This would not be pro bono.The private lawyer’s fee , running into lakhs and crores of rupees, will be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India. The proposition is ludicrous, financially inappropriate and legally untenable on grounds of discrimination besides causing huge public embarrassment to the governments at the Centre and States. Another financial scam in the making ?
    It is not the governments’ responsibility to defend the accused for offences committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act. At the same time, it is not in the mandate of IAS Association to vouch for any members honesty and give a clean chit. This is precisely what is happening in the coalgate scam ,even while it is subjudice.The issue should better be left to the Judiciary to decide in the light of evidences/ witnesses garnered by the CBI.The governments should, however, not object to Services Associations creating their own Corpus Funds, through donations by its members, to meet such contingencies.

    A K SAXENA (A retd civil servant)