New Delhi: The IAS Association is set to strongly oppose the increasing trend of state governments appointing state civil service officers to IAS cadre posts such as district magistrate.
In a representation it is set to make to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the association will argue that such appointments go against the All India Service Rules, and warn that they could lead to a parallel administrative structure convenient for the ruling parties in states, and destroy the federal fabric of the country, sources in the association have told ThePrint.
The association is set to cite the examples of West Bengal and Odisha as states where there has been appointment of officers from the state services as district magistrates or deputy commissioners, and will ask the DoPT to direct state governments not to issue any orders or actions that may violate the All India Service Rules.
What the rules state
According to the proposed representation, Rule 8 of the All India Service Rules clearly states: “…save as otherwise provided in these rules, every cadre post shall be filled by a cadre officer.”
Rule 9, however, provides for “temporary appointment” of non-cadre officers to cadre posts only if the vacancy is expected to not last more than three months, or a suitable officer from the cadre is not available for filling the vacancy.
Further, even when these conditions are fulfilled, the state government is supposed to take prior concurrence of the central government before appointing a non-cadre officer to a cadre post, sources in the association said.
The trend that the association is set to flag, however, is nothing new. Back in 2004, a judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court said the appointment of non-cadre officers in cadre postings “is patently illegal, impermissible in law and totally in contravention of the very object of constitution of All India Services”. The IAS Association is expected to cite this judgment to corroborate its argument that the practice is illegal.
May send representation to EC too
Sources said the association is also contemplating sending the representation to the Election Commission ahead of the Lok Sabha polls as it believes that the practice of appointing state service officers could ensure that the party in power in states benefits from these appointments during elections.
The states are learnt to have appointed these officers without any permission from the central government — a trend that could have particularly adverse effects in election season, a source said.
Therefore, the IAS body is set to urge the central government and the Election Commission to ensure that only IAS or cadre officers are appointed to sensitive posts during elections.
In its representation, the association will also ask the DoPT to strike down the orders appointing such officials in West Bengal and Odisha, if they’re found to be illegal in the course of inquiries.
The IAS body is of the view that the trend could attack the basic tenets of the Constitution, thereby destroying the federal structure of the country.
“Such appointments directly impact the democratic structure of the Union of India and the damage they cause would be difficult to control in the long run,” the source in the association said.
“The representation would also highlight the fact that the Centre-state relations are anyway a constant source of tension and debate…Such actions would magnify the problem and threaten the existence of the country.”