Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
HomeIndiaChanges in pension rules 'attempt to impose silence' — ex-civil servants write...

Changes in pension rules ‘attempt to impose silence’ — ex-civil servants write to PM Modi

The letter was signed by over 100 signatories including former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, former NSA Shivshankar Menon, and former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, among others.

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New Delhi: Upset over the changes in Central Pension Rules that prohibit retired security officials from publishing information after retirement, over 100 retired civil servants have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the amendment “curtails freedom of expression”.

In their letter, the former civil servants said the amendment was not needed since the Official Secrets Act 1923 already exists.

“We are unable to understand why there is a need for such an amendment to the Central Pension Rules, when there already exists an Official Secrets Act 1923 and the State can, under it, prosecute officials and former officials who reveal information prejudicial to the State,” the letter states.

“The practice of retired bureaucrats writing their memoirs or articles on different aspects of the work done by them during their working years or commenting on current affairs using their ‘domain’ knowledge is universal and is appreciated the world over. Only those who have been involved in security related matters, internal or external, can speak with authority and credibility. Other domain experts, scholars and even interested members of the public look forward to such words of wisdom based on personal experience. It helps current practitioners to perform better”, read the letter whose signatories include former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, former NSA Shivshankar Menon, former Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung, among others

The letter further says the amendment is “an attempt to impose a silence that will seriously affect scholarship and be a permanent impediment to an understanding of the imperatives of our security concerns”.

The government last month amended the Central Civil Services (Pension) Amendment Rules, 2020. Under the amended rules, officials retired from certain intelligence and security establishments will not be allowed to write anything about their organisation without permission.

‘Govt has gone beyond 2008 UPA order’

The letter also said the former UPA government had also tried to bring an order for officers who served in the RAW and Intelligence Bureau but it was never implemented as it was widely criticised and later withdrawn.

“In 2008, the UPA government, perhaps persuaded of the wrongness of the order, did not finally bring the amendment into being. We hope that the present government would display similar sagacity,” it says.

“With this order, India also acquires the dubious distinction of being, possibly, the only major democratic country in the world today which effectively bars its employees from expressing their views after retirement,” the letter added.


Also read: Govt owes Indians an explanation. Or its gag order & pension rule can be seen as blackmail


 

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