Keeping Civil Service Board in abeyance is invalid, says CAT

In a setback to the State government, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Monday termed as invalid the State government’s March 12, 2014, notification of keeping in abeyance the Civil Services Board (CSB), which was set up to decide postings and transfers of officers belonging to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

Declaring that the March 12, 2014, notification cannot be acted upon henceforth as the transfer and posting of IAS officers can be made only based on the recommendations of the CSB, the tribunal directed the government to place the issue related to transfer of IAS officer Sharath B. before the CSB. Also, it directed the CSB to give an opportunity of hearing to Mr. Sharath before its recommendation to the competent authority.

A Division Bench comprising Suresh Kumar Monga (Member-Judicial) and Rakesh Kumar Gupta (Member-Administrative) of CAT’s Bengaluru Bench issued the directions on Mr. Sharath’s plea. He had questioned the government’s September 28, 2020, order of prematurely transferring him from the post of Deputy Commissioner, Mysuru.

Pointing out that the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, were amended by the Union government on January 28, 2014, to give effect to apex court’s direction to set up the CSB and fix minimum tenure in a post for IAS officers, the tribunal said that the State government lacked power in law to keep in abeyance the CSB, which constituted on January 31, 2014.

“The Government Order of keeping the CSB in abeyance for an indefinite period is not only contrary to the directions given by the Supreme Court but it is also in defiance of a mandate given by the amended rules of 2014, which were promulgated by the Centre in consultation with the State governments,” it observed.

However, it did not interfere with the posting of another IAS officer, Rohini Sindhuri as DC, Mysuru, while noticing that the ‘administrative exigency’ of Dasara festival and the situation of COVID-19 pandemic cited by the State government to transfer Mr. Sharath from the post within one month of appointing him as DC, Mysuru.

It also took note of government’s statement that Mr. Sharath had failed to abide by the directions of the Election Commission of India, which wanted to post him as a General Observer for Bihar Assembly General Elections, as he was not available for duty.

The government had told the tribunal that Mr. Sharath had not even reported to duty since September 29, 2020. He tested positive for COVID-19 on September 30, 2020, and intimated this information to the authorities only on October 18, 2020. Though he sought medical leave since October 18, 2020, citing various reasons and seeking an extension of leave through emails, he had not specified the date by which he would be able to resume duty. Following this, a show-cause notice was issued to him in November, the government had told the tribunal.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 2:51:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/keeping-civil-service-board-in-abeyance-is-invalid-says-cat/article34194078.ece

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