Friday, 7 October, 2022
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Not IAS rules but Modi govt issues show cause notice to Bengal chief secy under disaster law

While Centre can't unilaterally initiate disciplinary proceedings against an IAS officer posted with a state govt, it has instead used NDMA under which anyone can be tried for non-compliance of orders.

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New Delhi: Refusing to accept the validity of the retirement of West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the Narendra Modi government has issued a show cause notice to him, invoking the Disaster Management Act against the IAS officer.

According to sources in the government, the Centre had started disciplinary proceedings against the officer — for abstaining himself from the Cyclone Yaas review meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week — before the Mamata Banerjee government announced his retirement Monday, and therefore the proceedings will continue.

The Centre has now issued the show cause notice to Bandyopadhyay invoking Section 51(b) of the Disaster Management Act, which states “Whoever, without reasonable cause refuses to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central Government or the State Government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under this Act”.

While the Centre cannot unilaterally initiate disciplinary proceedings against an IAS officer posted with a state government under All India Service (AIS) Rules, the government has instead used the generic NDMA under which anyone can be tried for non-compliance of orders.

ThePrint has sent emails to DoPT spokesperson Shambhu Chaudhary and MHA spokesperson Nitin Wakankar for an official comment on the matter. This report will be updated when a response is received.


Also read: Disciplinary proceedings likely against WB chief secy as Mamata refuses to send him to Delhi


Bandyopadhyay appointed chief adviser to CM

The show cause notice came hours after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday said she was appointing Alapan Bandyopadhyay as an advisor for three years effective from Tuesday, after allowing the officer, who had been ordered by the central government to report to Delhi, to retire.

The Centre had asked him to join North Block Tuesday but it cannot force an officer to join it without the permission of the state administration, Banerjee said at a press conference.

“We are not relieving him. He has superannuated today, but he will act as the chief advisor to the CM for the next three years,” Banerjee said.

The unprecedented nature of the senior-most IAS officer of a state government being summoned after a Centre-state conflict has triggered a debate within the IAS community over the powers of the state and the federal government regarding the bureaucracy.


Also read: What’s next after Centre recalls West Bengal chief secy & why IAS officers call this ‘new low’


 

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