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Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Explained: Shah Faesal will return to IAS; what are the rules for resignation & reinstatement of an officer?

IAS officer Shah Faesal, who resigned in 2019, has been reinstated by the central government. What is the process by which an IAS officer can resign, or be put back in service? What rules govern these actions?

Written by Shyamlal Yadav , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 4, 2022 11:52:54 am
The return to service of Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the Civil Services Examination, had been indicated as early as in August 2020, when he stepped down as president of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM). (Express file)

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shah Faesal, who resigned from the service in protest against the “unabated” killings in Kashmir in 2019, has been reinstated.

The return to service of Faesal, the first Kashmiri to top the Civil Services Examination (2010 batch), had been indicated back in August 2020, when he stepped down as president of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM), the party that he had founded after leaving the IAS, and announced that he was quitting politics altogether.

Faesal’s resignation, in January 2019, had not been accepted by the government pending investigation into some of his posts on social media. In 2020, a senior government official had told The Indian Express that the fact his resignation was never accepted meant that “the door is still open” for him to come back to the IAS.

Following the constitutional changes of August 2019 in Jammu and Kashmir, Faesal was stopped from flying to Istanbul, and was detained under Section 107 CrPC. He was ultimately released in June 2020. No cases are pending against him at the moment.

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What rules apply when an IAS officer chooses to resign?

A resignation is a formal intimation in writing by an officer of his/her intention or a proposal to leave the IAS, either immediately or at a specified date in the future. Guidelines of the Department of Personnel, the cadre controlling department for the IAS, say that a resignation has to be clear and unconditional.

The resignation of an officer of any of the three All-India Services — IAS, the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service — is governed by Rules 5(1) and 5(1)(A) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958. There are similar rules for resignation of officers belonging to the other central services as well.

Resignation from service is entirely different from accepting the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). Those who take VRS are entitled to pension, whereas those who resign are not. Rule 5 of the DCRB Rules say, “No retirement benefits may be granted to a person who has been dismissed or removed from the Service or who has resigned from the Service.”

To whom must the resignation of an IAS officer be submitted?

An officer serving in a cadre (state) must submit his/her resignation to the chief secretary of the state. An officer who is on central deputation is required to submit his/her resignation to the secretary of the concerned Ministry or Department. The Ministry/Department then forwards the officer’s resignation to the concerned state cadre, along with its comments or recommendations.

What happens after the resignation is submitted?

The state checks to see if any dues are outstanding against the officer, as well as the vigilance status of the officer or whether any cases of corruption etc. are pending against him/her. In case there is such a case, the resignation is normally rejected.

Before forwarding the resignation to the central government, the concerned state is supposed to send information on the issues of dues and vigilance status, along with its recommendation.

The resignation of the officer is considered by the competent authority, i.e., the central government, only after the recommendation of the concerned cadre has been received. The competent authorities are: Minister of State at the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) in respect of the IAS, the Minister for Home Affairs in respect of the IPS, and the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change in respect of the Forest Service.

Being the minister in charge of the DoPT, the Prime Minister himself takes decisions currently in respect of the IAS.

Under what circumstances is a resignation accepted or rejected?

A circular issued by the DoPT on February 15, 1988 regarding resignation says that it is not in the interest of the government to retain an officer who is unwilling to serve. The general rule, therefore, is that the resignation of an officer should be accepted — except in certain circumstances.

The circular says: “Where a Government servant who is under suspension submits a resignation the competent authority should examine, with reference to the merit of the disciplinary case pending against the Government servant, whether it would be in the public interest to accept the resignation.”

In some cases, resignations have been rejected because disciplinary cases were pending against officers. In such cases, concurrence of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is obtained.

The government also checks whether the concerned officer had executed any bond to serve the government for a specified number of years on account of having received specialised training, a fellowship, or scholarship for studies.

The circular also says: “Where the Government servant concerned is engaged on work of importance and it would take time to make alternative arrangements for filling the post, the resignation should not be accepted straightway but only when alternative arrangements for filling the post have been made.”

Is an officer allowed to withdraw a resignation that has already been submitted?

Rule 5(1A)(i) of the amended DCRB Rules says the central government may permit an officer to withdraw his/her resignation “in the public interest”. An amendment in the Rules in 2011 states “that the period of absence from duty between the date on which the resignation became effective and the date on which the member is allowed to resume duty as a result of permission to withdraw the resignation is not more than ninety days”.

The same amendment in the Rules said, “Request for withdrawal of resignation shall not be accepted by the Central Government where a member of the Service resigns from his/her service or post with a view to be associated with any political parties or any organisation which takes part in politics, or to take part in, or subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or political activity or to canvass or otherwise interfere with, or use his/her influence in connection with, or take part in, an election to any legislature or local authority.”

And under what circumstances is the withdrawal of an officer’s resignation accepted?

The guidelines say that if an officer who has submitted his/her resignation sends an intimation in writing withdrawing it before its acceptance by the competent authority, the resignation will be deemed to have been automatically withdrawn.

Shah Faesal resigned on January 9, 2019, but his resignation was not processed. His Executive Record Sheet on the DoPT website has no details of his posting. The latest Civil List of IAS officers available on the DoPT website is that of 2021 — and Faesal is listed as a serving officer, but whose posting details say “N.A.” (not available).

The Immovable Property Return (IPR), which every officer is required to declare every year and which is posted on the DoPT website, was last declared by Faesal on January 30, 2017. However, since his resignation itself was not accepted, his request for the withdrawal of resignation was accepted. This, despite the fact that he tried his luck in politics for a year and a half.

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