Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Government to compulsorily retire officers with bad reputation or inefficient

NEW DELHI: Sending a clear message that inefficiency or a bad reputation on account of probity would mean retirement kicking in almost a decade in advance for senior government officials, the government has now strengthened the review processes to compulsorily retire such officers.

Issuing four-page long guidelines to all ministries last Friday, the PM-led Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said that services of those government officials "which are no longer useful to the general administration" or whose "integrity and reputation" is doubtful, must be compulsorily retired from service.

As per an existing rule FR 56 (J) which has been rarely enforced, the performance of Group A and B officials who have completed 50 years and junior officials who have completed 55 years of service must be reviewed and a decision taken whether to compulsorily retire them before turning 60.

ET reported on September 14 that Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha had chaired a meeting on August 10 with senior officers of different ministries asking for strengthening of the review system of screening of officers under the existing rule. The DoPT missive is a fall-out of the same.

Citing SC judgements, DoPT has said that "integrity of an employee, action or decisions taken by the employee which do no appear to be above board, complaints received against him or suspicious property transactions, for which sufficient evidence may not be there to initiate departmental proceedings" should be the factors considered to decide on prematurely retiring an officer.

"Similarly, reports of conduct unbecoming of a government servant may also form basis for compulsorily retirement," the DoPT says, citing a 2002 SC judgement that said government has absolute right to compulsorily retire an official who obstructs the efficiency in public services. "The officer would live by reputation built around him," DoPT says citing another SC order which says conduct and reputation of an officer must not be such that his continuance "would be a menace to public service and injurious to public interest."

"For better administration, it is necessary to chop off dead wood," says another 2001 SC order cited by DoPT in its letter, saying it should be seen if recent promotions of the officer in last five years were on basis of seniority cum fitness and not on the basis of merit.

The government has reconstituted review committees to look into cases of officers turning 50/55 as the case may be - saying Secretary of the concerned department will head a review committee in case of ACC appointees while in case of senior appointees in boards like CBDT and CBEC, the review committee will be headed by the Chairman of such Board. An additional secretary or joint secretary will head review committees in cases of junior officials. The Central Vigilance Officer will be a part of the committee if an integrity issue is involved. All reviews must be done six months before the official turns 50 or 55 as the case may be.

Courtesy: Economic Times

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