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Updated: August 4, 2013 02:06 IST

Centre explores options as Sonia writes to PM on Nagpal issue

Special Correspondent
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File photo of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about her suspension. File photo
PTI File photo of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about her suspension. File photo

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking the government to intervene in IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal’s case triggered the Cabinet Secretary to hold confabulations with the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on Saturday to explore options before the Central government.

But the meeting failed to yield results. DoPT officials said the Centre could not step in until the aggrieved officer appealed to it. It was pointed out that the Centre had come to the aid of officers of Central services who had sought help, but the DoPT officials advised the Cabinet Secretary that service rules did not provide space for pro-active action in this case.

The meeting took place a day after Ms. Gandhi wrote to Dr. Singh, saying: “We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated. At the same time, this particular instance has highlighted the need to assess whether there are adequate safeguards in place to protect executive functionaries working beyond the average call of duty to uphold the rule of law.”

She noted, “It is reported that Ms. Durga Shakti Nagpal, a young IAS officer of U.P., has been hastily suspended for unsubstantiated reasons.”

Ms. Nagpal had undertaken a drive against illegal sand mining in her district but was suspended by the Samajwadi Party government for allegedly demolishing a wall of an under-construction mosque.

Informed sources told The Hindu that officers of the DoPT and the Cabinet Secretariat went into the service rules on August 3 to find a route for the Centre to step in but did not reach a decision. Deliberations were also held on changing the rules to provide greater role for the Centre for aiding such aggrieved officers in future.

The DoPT had taken a position against such interventions, advising that the Centre cannot step in if aggrieved officers are working under their parent States and not on Central deputation.

Ms. Gandhi in her letter to Dr. Singh has asked the government to assess whether the existing safeguards are adequate for protecting officers doing their duty and if any other administrative reforms are required.

Under the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1969, an officer can appeal against the suspension order of a State government she or he is serving under.

The officer must do so within 45 days of being served suspension order by the State government. The government must also initiate disciplinary proceedings within 45 days of suspension of the officer. An enquiry against the suspended officer has to be completed within a period of one year if the charges do not relate to corruption.

If the aggrieved officer does appeal to the Centre, the latter can step in as the cadre-controlling authority to cancel the suspension — an order that can be argued against by the State government under rare and specific circumstances.

While the Centre has received a report from the U.P. government on the matter, the officer has not written to the Centre for relief.

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The headline should have been "Sonia instructed PM" and what option the
centre is exploring. If they really want to do something meaningful in
this case, they should be ready to forget the support from Mulayam to
remain at the centre. And looking at the current situation, i dont think
they can afford to do that. So its just a show-off to make others
believe that they are not against bureaucracy.

from:  Gaurav Katiyar
Posted on: Aug 5, 2013 at 12:10 IST

sonia gandhi's effort is appreciable and politically motivated .But question is why she was mum on the Khema case?He was shunted out blantatly.We thank sonia for nagpal cause .But here her intention is questionable.Why she is mum on khemka and ifs officer chaturbedi's cause?After popular upraise against UP govt ,she is trying to sail on that.She knows how to control mango people (common man) in this banana republic.

from:  susant
Posted on: Aug 5, 2013 at 01:47 IST

A welcome step up by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi reg. calling for report on Durga Nagpal.Why Sonia/congress adopts different yard stick reg.action against All India cadre officers or others? In case of Ashok Khemka,the Inspector General of Registration,Haryana was transfered within hours of his calling for report on Robert Vadera's land dealings.Then why she kept mum.Now she is going to show her anxiety at Ms.Durga Nagpal. What inference has to be drawn from this.She wants to embarrass SP govt., on one side & on the other hand she wants to show sympathy as savior of the buerocracy.If she is really interested to check these kind of actions by the state govts., let all such cases in the country be taken for justice without any prejudice for favor. Then only she can be called as a leader or really interested to help them.Other wise it is only a show/or a drama

from:  S.Nagarja Rao
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 18:54 IST

Which protocol defines that a PM remains deaf and mute until his party's boss instructs him to present a demo of his organ's working?

from:  Sushanta
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 15:14 IST

Service Rules are not constitutional amendments requiring two thirds
majority in Parliament and the co operation of the opposition. This
government, in its previous avatar could get the Nuclear Bill passed
despite severe and determined opposition. Can they not do something,
anything, even if it needs an urgent revising of the Rules to protect
this officer, who now seems trapped in a political game to protect
corrupt and vested interests.

from:  N.S.Rajan
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 12:56 IST

Appreciate Mrs.Gandhi's intervention, its only because of these few
honest and bold government servants this country is still holding
together in an otherwise god forsaken country.

from:  Augustus
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 12:22 IST

When venal politicians inebriated with power run the state machinery,
the hapless common man goes to the dogs without as much as a whimper.

from:  BALAN P T
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 11:59 IST

Where was this Sonia Gandhi when Mr Khemka of Haryana was 'footballed'
by the Haryana Government when he exposed the Wadehra land deals.
Sonia's concern here is more political than one of clean
administration.
Through this letter what you have proved is that the highest office of
the policy making body (UPA chairperson) interferes in the
administration of the Centre and States. Poor Mr Hooda we have been
blaming him all along for the fate of Mr Khemka. Mr Hooda's only fault
is lack of spine.

I am sure that neither UPA nor Samajwadi Party can restore Ms
Nagpal's position in the administration with dignity and the respect.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 11:17 IST

it is disgusting that the UP administration is standing firm on the action against upright and honest IAS officer Durga despite the entire nation rallied behind her.

from:  sergeant syam kumar
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 11:04 IST

She has become like a modern "Abhimanyu" carrying out a daring war against Gauravas "Mafias". Let the Supreme Court or Government ensure her protection and she is not made a victim like "Abhimanyu". She should be reinstated in the same position to restore her pride and asked to carry out the job with renewed vigor.

from:  brahamanapalle Murthy
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 08:59 IST

What is the 'average call of duty' of an executive functionary? Does working for upholding the
rule of law not fall within the scope of ' average call of duty?' Did not Mr. Ashok Khemka in
Haryana ,work for upholding the rule of law and how his work was rewarde? . When he was
hounded, why similar concern was not expressed ? We can see the functioning of state
governments and the government at the centre according to rule of law only when each
executive functionary works for upholding rule of law without meekly submitting to the
unlawful and unethical wishes of his/ her political bosses.If any one is hounded like
Mr.Khemka or Ms.Durga and many others like them, those responsible for such dictatorial
acts must be made accountable to the public and made to compensate the victimised official.
Only then , we can ensure that no political leader at the administrative level is allowed to act
in an orbitrary, capricious and vindictive manner and the democracy can be called as vibrant.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 08:26 IST

When the electronic and print media have been shouting hoarse for the last one week at the
injustice meted out to a young IAS officer in UP for taking on the "sand mafia",the Congress
chief writes a letter to the PM to take cognizance of the case and do justice. If this is not
playing partisan "politics" what else is? Where are the national organizations for women and
the various NGOs which are supposed to support women's causes? They have been
passive spectators remaining mostly silent. If a citizen is honest and the State comes with its
full force to punish him/her, where does one go for remedy? Our democratic pretensions are
strange.

from:  G. Narayanaswamy
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 06:49 IST

There must be inbuilt protection for all the employees from the
whimsical acts of the politicians and top bureaucrats. There must be
provisions for stringent actions, including criminal, against
officials and non-officials, if they violated the basic norms in
initiating actions against the officials as in this case. There should
have been a basic inquiry and a notice before the IAS officer was
suspended. If the government takes a stringent action against the
officials and non officials responsible for the abrupt and arbitrary
suspension of the officer, the recurrence of these incidents can be
averted. The central government may even consider cader transfer of Ms
Durga Shakti Nagpal, to prevent any further harassment as the Chief
Minister also appeared to be involved in this suspension.

from:  K V Laxmi Prasad
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 04:44 IST

This kind of case makes it absolutely necessary that the Supreme Court's ruling barring convicted persons from contesting elections should be strictly enforced. Appeals against convictions should also be speedily disposed of so that criminals do not go about threatening the lives of honest officials but are in jail where they belong.

from:  M. Parthasarathi
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 02:49 IST

Well well madam, see who is complaining ! Where were you when Khemka was being harrased for raising his concerns against your son in law.

from:  PT
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 02:43 IST

Sonia Gandhi holds a paid job of Chair-person of UPA basically to co-ordinate the co-operation of all the constituent parties. In addition she holds the post of President of Congress party and as such in addition to duties of chair-person, she represents the main ruling party also which is running the govt. This case of suspension of a civil service officer, if she is interested in, has to be taken up with Samajwadi Party in UPA and not with PM. It is not her duty to direct PM"s intervention at the cost of her duty as UPA co-ordinator. PM and she belong to same party.

from:  V.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 00:13 IST

Three questions will be enough to destroy Ms Gandhi's holier than thou
stand.
1.Why didn't she take a similar stand in the Khemka case?
2.Why has she taken action so late. And why is she, as chairman of a
body which has no constitutional, not even statutory if memory serves
correctly, status intervening in the administrative affairs of a
state?
3.In 2010 the Mayawati govt in UP suspended 2 IAS officers for
praising Ms Gandhi. In that case the Congress sprang into action
immediately and got the officers reinstated. Why is there so much
dilly-dallying in this case then?

Let's be clear on this - I do not support the suspension of Ms Nagpal.
But Sonia Gandhi has turned the noble cause - fighting on behalf of an
honest official - into a vote-grabbing gimmick which must be
questioned.
Sonia Gandhi's actions destroy the legitimacy of the agitation against
the Yadav regime in UP in support of an honest official. They must not
be allowed to stand.

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Aug 4, 2013 at 00:06 IST

Will she do the same to Ashok Kemke in Robert Vadra case?

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 22:16 IST

She should have shown the same
compassion to Mr Khemaka who is honest officer and faced 44 transfers up
to now for his honesty and who has exposed misdeeds of Robert Varda.
Unfortunately all sermons come from Ms Gandhi when nothing is at stake.
This is cheap attempt to ride popular sentiments by Sonia Gandhi

from:  Sarath Chandran U
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 22:02 IST

Interesting!!! Few months back I read about IAS Officer Ashok Khemka's situation after he opened this great lady's son-in-law's good deeds!!!

from:  ram
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 21:33 IST

Why was this concern not shown to Ashok Khemka?

from:  Anil Suri
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 21:25 IST

One thing I didn't understand is, Can't a PM act on his own ?? Does he
need his boss's direction always......I think, MMS has lost his self
respect long before.

from:  Shetty
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 21:17 IST

Why so much kolveri on the letter? Did she write anything offensive or unlawful?

from:  Balvinder
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 21:01 IST

Fail to understand the situation seems to be so much clear. .SP government as always favouring crimilism..even though is there no democracy left to do justice to the honest officer.

from:  Dheeraj
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 20:15 IST

Great news. Hope at least now justice and fairness can prevail. By this proactive action, Sonia-ji has once again proven herself to be the conscience-keeper of the nation.

from:  Balachandaiya
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 20:05 IST

I hope Sonia Gandhi takes similar interest towards all civil servants going beyond the call of duty, including Ashok Khemka

from:  JV Ram
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 20:01 IST

Stop! Stop this drama.The central Govt lawyer had opposed the PIL in the Allahabad High Court and when the Congress saw that the tide is turning against their stand and the SP whose crucial support is essential for Congress (UPA) to survive they are shedding their crocodile tears.Raoul does not want any politician to speak and esp. Modi has all the politicians have been afflicted with Modiphoia or Modinamonia ?

from:  RS Pawar
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 19:57 IST

Durga Shakti, don't lose hope. This country needs you. You will be a role model for the nation. Your name Durga Shakti is enough to scare these Corrupt people. You have Durga ki Shakti. God Bless You.

from:  Aam Aadmi
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 19:56 IST

Sonia's concern for the IAS officer Nagpal is fine but what she needs to realize is that this is not an isolated incident. Officers at all levels are treated like slaves throughout India by politicians and ministers. What we need is comprehensive reform of the governance system. As a member of the family who ruled India for more than 50 years she needs to realize this. She probably does, but doesn't want to bring in these reforms where officers have autonomy, powers, fixed tenures, obviously with accountability. We all know what's happening with autonomy of CBI inspite of Supreme Court's slap on Congress and UPA's face. So it's hard to believe that she really cares for the betterment of the country. She can, with her powers, bring in the systemic changes within six months throughout the nation, at least in Congress ruled states. But will she? We all know the answer!

from:  Sanjay Karnam
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 18:44 IST

Criminals in the name of MLAs,MPs are ruling UP..you are not safe even
while you are travelling in a train through UP..let alone living in UP..

from:  kannan
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 18:40 IST

Sonia ji has taken up this issue of suspension IAS officer of UP, hope
the IAS officer will be reinstated immediately, with out even the small
ill treatment. It is most important that honest work must be appreciated
and to avoid growth ofeconomic offenders.It is fair if the suspension
order is revoked with out further ,loss of time. Revoking is the
rectification of mistake commited on misinformation and not treated as
weakness of Government or CM of UP

from:  Suresh D.R
Posted on: Aug 3, 2013 at 18:32 IST
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