Andhra Pradesh is one of the few States where business rules enable a Secretary to circulate the file to the Chief Minister through the Chief Secretary if he differs from his Minister and provides adequate safeguards to honest civil servants when they tender advice in the public interest (June 27). Such a provision does not exist in the Government of India’s Business Rules. The late H.C. Sarin, posted as Adviser to A.P. during President’s Rule in the early 1970s, was impressed by this. Of course, this assumes that the Chief Secretary is supportive of an officer of rectitude.
Officers who reach the level of Secretary are expected to have minimal bureaucratic skills to save themselves. To plead political pressure is just puerile. But it should also be noted that the CBI, most often manned by the IPS, perpetrates the IAS-IPS rivalry syndrome.
As a civil servant, I would suggest that the primary woe with the prime constitutional executive service is its illegal, arbitrary tenures in the States. This defeats the very purpose of the service intended by the Constituent Assembly and its greatest champion, Sardar Patel, to provide stability and a uniform standard of administration across the Union and the States.
There is a world of difference when an officer is posted as district collector or head of department with a minimum two-year term and on pleasure. If arbitrary removal is made slightly difficult in key positions, by providing for a process of hearing by a board comprising a retired Judge, the Chief Secretary and the Minister-in-charge and making all appointments via Cabinet notes and not “out of agenda,” the reasoning for asking for a posting and effecting a removal can be scrutinised. Nefarious casteist and communal interests, apart from the “my man “syndrome can be checked, at least documented. While governments must indeed have the flexibility to effect personnel policy, gross abuse of such policy leading to pure “personal pleasure” as against constitutional pleasure postings can be thus reduced, if not eliminated.
Efforts to place such a minimum term in the rule book have so far been unsuccessful for obvious reasons and there is no hope for the same to be effected unless there is judicial insistence. This could be the single most effective progressive step in the management of the IAS in the States.