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Modi govt pulls up Haryana for posting IPS and IFS officers as principal secy, an IAS post

DoPT is said to have taken cognisance of complaint from senior IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who flagged cases of IPS, IFS & IRS officers being posted as principal secretaries to state govt.

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New Delhi: The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has questioned the Haryana government for posting officers from Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) as principal secretaries to the state government — the post reserved for Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers under the All India Service Rules.

According to officials privy to the development, DoPT has taken cognisance of a complaint made by senior Haryana cadre IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who had flagged cases of IPS, IFS and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers being given positions reserved for IAS officers. Khemka had written to the union cabinet secretary in December last year, who then forwarded his complaint to the DoPT.

In addition to seeking a detailed report, the DoPT has also asked the Haryana government to strictly comply with the IAS Cadre Rules, 1954.

“On the perusal of the above representations, it would appear that certain non-cadre officers have been posted on the cadre posts by the state government of Haryana, without obtaining the prior approval of this Department in violation of Rule 9 of AIS (Cadre) Rules,” said the DoPT communication to the Haryana government dated 24 March.

“Accordingly, the state government is requested to submit detailed comments on the issues raised in the representation of Shri Khemka, along with a detailed report on posting of non-cadre officers on cadre posts in Haryana to this Department,” added the letter, seen by ThePrint.

Sources said the Haryana government is yet to respond to the communication.

According to a senior DoPT official, the posts of principal secretaries in the state governments are reserved for IAS officers just the way the posts of deputy inspector general (DIG) or deputy conservator of forests (DCF) are reserved for IPS and IFS officers, respectively.

“Just the way an IAS cannot be posted as a DIG or a DCF, the same way an IPS or an IFS cannot be posted as a principal secretary to the state government except under rare circumstances,” the official said.

“There has to be a grave exigency for this to happen like a severe shortage of officers…In that case, the state government can appoint a non-cadre officer on a cadre post for a period of three months without the Centre’s approval.”

The official added: “For anything more than three months, the prior approval of the Centre has to be taken.”

Sources in the central government said two key points were raised in Khemka’s representation — one, by appointing non-IAS officers in important posts reserved for them, several IAS officers are relegated to relatively less crucial postings. And two, the prospects of promotion for IAS officers are stifled by the appointment of non-cadre officers in their posts.

ThePrint contacted Khemka over the phone for a comment on his representation to the government but he did not comment on the matter.

Also read: After ONGC barge crash, old question rises: Why is shipping regulator post held by IAS, IRS?

What the rules say

According to the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, a “cadre officer” is defined as a member of the Indian Administrative Service, and a “cadre post” can only be filled by a cadre officer.

The rules provide for only temporary posting of non-cadre officers in cadre posts.

“A cadre post in a state shall not be filled by a person who is not a cadre officer except if there is no suitable cadre officer available for filling the vacancy; provided that when a suitable cadre officer becomes available, the non-cadre officer shall be replaced by the cadre officer,” the rules state.

If the period exceeds three months, the prior approval of the Centre is mandated under law.

“Where a cadre post is filled by a non-cadre officer for a period exceeding six months, the central government shall report the full facts to the Union Public Service Commission with the reasons and give suitable direction to the state government concerned on the advice of the Commission,” the rules add.

Other posts like those of district magistrates are also cadre posts reserved for the IAS.

Last year, ThePrint had reported how the DoPT had similarly flagged the “illegal appointment” of officers in the provincial services for these posts in Nagaland in contravention of the All India Service Rules.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

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