It is unfortunate that Durga Shakti Nagpal’s suspension by the Uttar Pradesh government has degenerated into a political soap opera. Sensing a potential pot-boiler, a section of the print and electronic media has resorted to sensationalism without debating the larger issue of administrative reforms to minimise, if not prevent, the recurrence of such incidents.
Ms Nagpal is only one among scores of officers who have been suffering silently at the hands of their political bosses for simply doing their duty without fear or favour.
Raj Kishore Mishra,
The spotlight on Ms Nagpal’s suspension has had a positive fallout in the form of the National Green Tribunal order on sand mining. While the nationwide stay on sand mining is welcome, one wonders how it will be implemented, especially in remote areas. The nexus among the sand mafia, officials and politicians has robbed the essential components of our environment with chaotic consequences.
Mohd Mudassir Alam,
Suspension is not punishment. At least that is what service rules say. Hundreds of Group C and D staff are suspended for one reason or the other every day. They get subsistence allowance and enjoy 50 per cent pay without doing any work.
I was suspended in the 1980s. My officer was in no mood to listen to my prayers. A one-man enquiry committee was formed and I was exonerated of all the charges after three years. My 10 days’ suspension was treated as duty and a sum of Rs. 240 was added to my salary. My image among my colleagues and relatives was considerably damaged. Can Ms Nagpal or other IAS officers give an assurance that they will not suspend anyone in their career? They cannot. It is the system.
IAS, IFS and IPS officers are not sacred cows. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s letter asking the Prime Minister to intervene on behalf of Ms Nagpal was unwarranted. Posting, transfers and service-related matters of IAS officers are a Chief Minister’s prerogative.
The Nagpal issue has brought to the fore the plight of civil servants who are under dual control — of the Centre and the States. The Samajwadi Party played the role of a trusted partner of the Congress when its political future was uncertain. The same party now challenges the Congress for interfering in its administration in U.P., even hinting at withdrawal of support to the Food Security Bill. Strange is the behaviour of politicians and stranger still the plight of people who can only remain mute spectators.
In administrative parlance, suspension is not punishment. It is the first step in the disciplinary proceedings. Suspension only means that while departmental action is in progress, the employee is prevented from accessing official documents with a view to tampering with evidence.
As for the government’s statement that Ms Nagpal’s suspension is “final, correct and irrevocable,” it is laughable. Suspension is temporary and has to be revoked at the end of the disciplinary proceedings.
If the charges are proved, penalties will be imposed. If not, Ms Nagpal will be reinstated. In either case, the suspension order will be revoked.
Ruling parties treat IAS and IPS officers like their personal aides. If anyone dares to be honest or does not dance to the tune of the party, he or she is either transferred or suspended on some ground. This is happening in all the States with almost all the ruling parties behaving similarly. Only the degree varies.
In U.P., there are many working Chief Ministers from Akhilesh Yadav to Mulayam Singh. The message to all SP members seems to be: “You name the person and we will frame the charges.”
Governments apply the “rules” only when they want. Section 66A of the IT Act, for instance, is used only when the government or the political class wants to punish someone. Ms Nagpal perhaps made a mistake by not sending a notice and giving enough time before ordering the demolition of the mosque wall which was under construction.
Will the U.P. government assure us that from now on, it will ensure that a notice is served in time before every demolition?
Draconian laws are a problem. But the bigger problem is nobody knows when and where they will be used.
The U.P government is playing vote-bank politics. It feared the loss of Muslim votes following the demolition of the compound wall of the unauthorised mosque under construction in Kadalpur. The easiest way for it was to suspend the officer, who had also taken on the sand mafia and ruffled its feathers.
IAS officers are intelligent and highly qualified. How do they tolerate such shabby treatment? Can they not find alternative jobs?