Amitabh Shukla, Hindustan Times,New Delhi, May 22, 2006
The IAS Officers' Association is lobbying for scrapping the right to suspend a bureaucrat given to state governments to safeguard the interests of officers and protect them from political victimisation.
The worst affected state, Uttar Pradesh, where IAS officers are suspended or transferred on the whims and fancies of the politicians, has taken the lead in the matter with its association taking up the issue with right earnest. To build a consensus on the issue, counterparts in other states — Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab — among others are being contacted.
As the officers realise the futility of challenging punitive transfers, they are focussing on suspensions which are doled out on a routine basis in states like UP. "The entire career prospects of an officer are adversely affected once he is suspended. Moreover, no reasons are given for these suspensions but merely "suspicion" that the officer concerned showed slackness in duty," said an official from UP.
Whenever something "out of the ordinary" like a human tragedy or riot takes place, the first thing the state government does is to suspend the district magistrate or the superintendent of police. He said suspensions can only be supported where a criminal or corruption case has been registered, chargesheet filed and the charges framed.
The officers also plan to approach the second Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by former Karnataka Chief Minister Veerappa Moily, which is scheduled to prepare a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administration system. Its report would be submitted by the end of this year. If suspension rights are not taken from the state government, then the concurrence of the central government should be made mandatory, the officers have demanded. Moreover, they want the conditions governing suspensions should be specified.
The bureaucracy in Delhi government, however, is not taking much interest in the issue as suspensions are extremely rare in the state government.