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Retd IAS Officer Moves SC Against Lateral Entry To Post Of Jt Secys [Read Petition]

An IAS officer, who retired as the Secretary to the Government of India, has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s move inviting lateral entries at the level of joint secretary which is the third highest non-political executive rank.

Dr. Chandrapal has challenged the “shocking” June 10 advertisement issued by the Department of Personnel and Training inviting applications from “outstanding individuals” for the post of 10 joint secretaries willing to contribute towards nation building.

“…appointment to such a superior post on contract basis for a period as short as three years and that too of persons, who has no experience in serving the nation as is required by duly appointed Civil Servants to attain this rank is an arbitrary exercise of power, which cannot remain uninfluenced by political interference,” said Chandrapal, who retired as Secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and also served as principal advisor in Planning Commission besides various other postings.

Submitting that “members of civil services are considered the backbone of administration of our country, who carry out the policy decisions taken by the public through their elected representatives. The members of Civil Service are recruited on basis of merit and they are required to serve the nation right from the level of sub-division, while moving up the ladder of promotion up to the rank of the Secretary to the Union or State Government”, the petitioner said the Constitution guarantees protection of civil servants from any political influence under Article 311.

“..the lateral policy notification makes the choice of a lateral entrant arbitrary. Anyone who is close to the incumbent government will get the position, making it difficult for bureaucrats who came through UPSC,” he said in the petition drawn by advocate Sudhanshu Chandra and filed by advocate Nirmal Kumar Ambastha.

Adding that “selection criteria of the joint secretary are arbitrary as notification does not specify about any criteria. Hence it is violative Article 14 of Constitution of India”, the petition relies on the apex court decision in State of Rajasthan vs. Sevanivatra Karamchari Hitkari Samiti wherein it was held that the wisdom in a policy decision of the government, as such is not justifiable as such policy decision is wholly capricious, arbitrary and whimsical thereby offending the rule of law as enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

The petition said that a “civil servant, while working on various posts, such as Sub-Divisional Officer/Magistrate, District Magistrate, Divisional Commissioners, etc., gains experience in working for general public and further experiences the need of the general public”.

He submitted that the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India does not have any power to make any appointment without recommendation by the Union Public Service Commission and that too on a contract basis.

Lateral entry sans understanding of ground realities

Chandrapal said the lateral entry would bypass the three stages of UPSC Civil Services Exam – Preliminary, Main Exam, and Interview and also the present arrangement in which 1/3rd of the vacancies in Indian Civil Services is filled by promotion of eligible candidates working in different states services.

“…the candidates from corporate or private sectors are likely to lack the understanding of India’s ground realities, which the experience and training process over the years in government sector provides through its various attachments and programs,” he said.

The petition also stressed on conflict of interest in allowing individuals from private sectors in administration.

“…if private sector people are allowed to work with government, there will be disturbance in balance and inequitable sharing of benefits and discontent among the government personnel.

“It will be prejudicial to current set of bureaucrats who have to report to these lateral appointees… the officers who had come up through UPSC recruitment spend their professional lives in postings at grass root levels of administration rising rationally through the seat rules,” he said while urging the apex court to declare the advertisement unconstitutional.

Read the Petition Here

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  • S.Subramaniam says:

    This petition should not even be considered for admission and should be dismissed summarily. Just by passing a MCQ exam (eg., which is the longest beach in the world, how much does an elephant’s trunk weigh) answering / remembering trivia can qualify somebody to participate in ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ and not as District Collectors straightaway. On top of it, there are assured promotions with no accountability and performance monitoring. I’ve been dealing with these people over the last several years and can vouch for their inefficiency, nepotism and arrogance.

  • kuldip says:

    Well done. I appreciate the action and wish a favourable judgment

  • Harsh Parashar says:

    I appreciate the stand.

  • TrueIndian says:

    If big corporate companies can hire candidates for the top most post laterally (not putting an aurgument that a person who has been working with the comapny since long only can know better than anyone else), why can’t the government do it? It is all about right candidate, and it seems that government wishes to bridge the gap between the outside world and inside world about how things are done and are made to be done. What is wrong in it? Unless until you fear of being deprived of the reservation banifits, and fear of starting of an era of getting what you deserve.

  • DrRCRout says:

    This is not correct,the administrative method of governance has devastated the country.More competant and really talented persons should be allowed laterally.
    Mere passing an insignificant entrance like exam once does not speak comprtency of an individual.
    The application appears rubbish.

  • Ajit says:

    Let there be clarity on lateral entry

  • Raj says:

    Its a good move by the govt. IASare corrupt. Honest officers are not recognized anyway.

  • ABC says:

    One of the most worst decision of the government is lateral entry.

  • NADEEM Khan says:

    Good initiative by Retd IAS.. otherwise govt will recruit thr well wishers.

  • MRRao says:

    The main reason as to why the public sector undertakings have failed is due to control by IAS cadre who are jack of all but master of none. They control industry but do not have industry experience. They control every other specialised field….But their experience in any of those fields is a big zero…For every problem they keep on dragging the file for min of months ..Years..And in the mean time the problems escalate and that industry will die on its own….District administration is different from all the po there specialised fields like….engineering, science…Technology….Space….Agriculture etc…..Modiki has taken a right decision to bring specialists in to the admin. Line and Court should dismiss this petition outrightly.