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.