The honest IAS officers and their bonafide decisions need to be protected so that they do not shy away from taking administrative decisions, a body representing them said on Sunday.
It also asked the Centre to revoke the suspension of senior IAS officer G K Dwivedi which has led to demoralization in the rank and file of the officers working in the central secretariat.
“Dwivedi is known for his integrity and hard work. In his last two years of his tenure he has implemented about 17 important initiatives of the government,” said the central IAS officers’ association, which represents over 4,900 members of the prestigious service working across the country.
Dwivedi, along with three of his junior officers in Home Ministry, was suspended after it was noticed that the license of an NGO of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik to receive foreign grant was renewed by a departmental unit headed by him.
A delegation of the association met Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh to raise various such issues concerning them and sought protection to all civil servants.
It expressed concern that due to lack of legal protection, inadequacy in law, the officers are facing great difficulties apart from huge financial loss in fighting the legal cases and also the “social stigma”.
The association cited legal cases against former Telecom Secretary Shyamal Ghosh, former coal secretaries P C Parekh and H C Gupta, former IAS officer in Space Ministry Veena Rao and few others, “all of whom are known to be officers of good reputation and are now retired”.
These officers are allegedly facing legal cases regarding alleged irregularities in second generation (2G) spectrum, coal blocks allocations and Antrix-Devas deal.
“The central IAS association urged the government of India to protect the honest and sincere officers for taking bonafide decisions in public interest so that they don’t feel shy or edgy in taking bold and innovative decisions,” said Sanjay Bhoosreddy, secretary of the association.
The association said there is an urgent need to revisit the anti-corruption law and the legislation governing criminal procedure and suggested to the government that protection should be available to both the working and retired officers, irrespective of the civil service he or she belongs to.
The officers have also sought appropriate legal assistance for fighting court cases, as per the memorandum given to the Minister.
While assuring the officers that government is seriously keen to make sure that IAS officers’ initiative is not deterred on any count, Singh said, the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013 pending in Parliament also takes care of many of these aspects.
He said, for example, the provision to prosecute an officer, which was earlier available only at the level of Joint Secretary and above, is now sought to be made applicable in case of officers at every level.
There are 4,926 IAS officers in the country.