The Supreme Court verdict on bureaucrats is indeed a major reform aimed at ensuring good governance (“In major reform, SC orders fixed tenure for bureaucrats,” Nov.1). From the time they prepare to enter the civil services, bureaucrats face challenges. They are responsible for implementing the government’s policies but they face difficulties when their political bosses interfere with their work and bring pressure on them by transferring them frequently. The verdict is welcome.
The court’s direction that the Centre and the States set up a Civil Services Board (CSB) for the management of transfers, postings, inquiries, promotions, reward and punishment is a step in the right direction. The board will bring forth the much-needed transparency. It will enable bureaucrats to take independent decisions, insulated from the whimsical diktats of political executives in every field.
The ground-breaking judgment has sent the strong message that civil servants can hereafter work unhindered, without fearing politicians. Many a talent has been wasted by frequent transfers of IAS and IPS officers. There are officers who have been transferred 20 times in as many years, put on compulsory wait, etc. Upright officers should now be able to discharge their duties effectively. This will certainly result in good governance.
In recent times, we have seen political executives abuse their power of transfer and postings. This has lowered the morale of civil servants, reduced their efficiency, hampered stability and accelerated corruption. Politicians’ whims and fancies are the breeding ground for corruption, with many civil servants lobbying for “important” postings and even paying for them.
The judgment is great news for not only serving civil servants but also civil service aspirants. It will reduce political pressure on bureaucrats and pave the way for increased efficiency, accountability and transparency.
The Supreme Court order that civil servants must refrain from acting on the oral instructions of their political bosses is welcome. We will henceforth be relieved of the bureaucracy’s hide-and-seek tactics and procrastination in implementing schemes.
G. Murali Mohan Rao,
For far too long, politicians have browbeaten civil servants to toe their line with the threat of transfers to remote places, and have also got away with oral instructions on crucial issues, leaving officials to face the consequences. The Supreme Court order should be extended to public sector undertakings too. In many PSUs, branch managers are often given oral instructions by superiors to disburse advances and are made scapegoats when the advances turn into NPAs.
A superior — whether a political boss or an official — should be asked to put down his orders in writing to ensure transparency. One hopes the political class will allow the court order to be implemented in letter and in spirit.
There have been occasions when even straightforward politicians have had to wash their hands of responsibilities, leaving the bureaucrats in the lurch. But let us be sure that present-day politicians will not take the latest order without trying to circumvent it. The stipulation that there should be a fixed tenure for bureaucrats will enable straightforward officers to pursue good programmes without worrying about transfer orders.