Updated: January 23, 2022 12:33:59 am
Rajasthan has become the latest state to oppose the Centre’s proposed changes to rules that give it overarching powers on the posting of IAS officers, with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saying that the move will “violate constitutional boundaries”.
Gehlot tweeted late on Friday that he urged the Prime Minister in a letter to “personally intervene and put an end to this blow on the Constitution and the autonomy of the states”.
हमारे देश के संविधान निर्माताओं ने अखिल भारतीय सेवाओं की संकल्पना जन कल्याण तथा संघवाद की भावना को ध्यान में रखकर की थी। इस संशोधन से लौहपुरूष सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल द्वारा ‘स्टील फ्रेम ऑफ इंडिया’ बताई गई सेवाएं भविष्य में कमजोर होंगी।
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) January 21, 2022
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In his letter, he invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, saying the services described as a “steel frame” by him could be left weakened by the move.
Several states have written to the Centre opposing the proposed changes to the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954. Besides West Bengal and Odisha, they include BJP and NDA-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Meghalaya, according to sources. Maharashtra, too, has opposed the move.
The government, however, has tightened the norms further in a revised draft.
“This (proposed amendment) will violate the constitutional jurisdiction prescribed for the central and state governments and will weaken the spirit of working fearlessly and faithfully in the All India Service officers posted in the state,” Gehlot tweeted.
His letter said that after the changes, “the central government will be able to call the officers of the All India Service on deputation to the Centre without the consent of the concerned officer and the state government”.
The amendments proposed to the IAS cadre rules make the Centre’s preferences overriding, making it mandatory for the state government to provide a certain number of officers every year for central deputation.
The convention so far has been that officers are deputed to the Centre after a consultative process involving the Union government, the state government and the concerned officer.
“The constitution makers of our country had conceptualised the All India Services keeping in mind the public welfare and the spirit of federalism. With this amendment, the services described by Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as ‘Steel Frame of India’ will be weakened in future,” the Chief Minister wrote.
Gehlot also quoted from Sardar Patel’s speech during the debate on the All India Services in the Constituent Assembly on October 10, 1949: “A good all India service will be one which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has a sense of security, that will stand by its word and where their rights and privileges are secure.”
The Centre has proposed that each state shall make a number of eligible officers available for deputation. The number would be decided as per consultation, it has said.
It has also proposed that in case of disagreement, the state government shall give effect to the decision of the Centre “within a specified time”.
In its latest draft, the Centre inserted two more amendments, which give it powers to call any IAS officer on Central deputation in “public interest” within a stipulated time frame. In case the state fails to relieve the officer, he/she would be deemed relieved following the due date fixed by the Centre, they said. Sources said the Centre has proposed similar amendments for IPS and Indian Forest Service officers.
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