West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, an IAS officer of the 1987-batch was to retire on May 31, 2021, but the Chief Minister of West Bengal gave him an extension of three months.
However, the Centre has asked WB Chief Secretary Bandyopadhyay to report on Monday for central deputation which the officer has skipped. Read how civil servants are granted an extension, how is central deputation conducted, and what if an officer does not comply with the central deputation order?
Recall of WB Chief Secretary Bandyopadhyay by Centre: Background
• The West Bengal government on May 25, 2021, had issued an order stating that Bandyopadhyay’s services will be extended for another three months in the interest of public service. The order was issued with the Centre’s approval dated May 24.
• The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on May 28, 2021, wrote to Bandyopadhyay that the placement of the services of Bandyopadhyay with the Government of India with immediate effect has been approved by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet. The committee has requested the state to relieve the Chief Secretary immediately and ask him to report on May 31, 2021.
Extension of officers: Explained
• The extension of services of officers of the All India Services including IPS is governed by Rule 16 (1) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958.
• As per this provision, an officer retires from the services on attaining the age of 60. However, an extension of up to three months is permitted with approval from the Centre for officers that are dealing with budget work or working as a full-time member of a Committee which is to be wound up shortly in the public interest.
• In the case of an officer serving as Chief Secretary, the extension can be up to six months on the recommendation of the State government with approval from the Centre.
Central deputation of officer: Explained
• Every year, the Centre selects officers from an offer list of officers of the All India Services (IAS, IPS, IFS) that are willing to go on Central deputation.
• According to Rule 6 (1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, ‘A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the State Government concerned and the Central Government, be deputed for service under the Central Government or another State Government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the Central Government or by another State Government.
• In case of a disagreement, the Central government will decide the matter and the State Government or State Government concerned will abide by the decision of the Central Government.
What if an officer does not comply with the central deputation order?
• The IAS (Cadre) Rules state that in case of a disagreement between the Centre and State Government, the final will of the Centre shall prevail.
• The rules do not specify if an officer does not comply with the central deputation order or if the state does not relive an officer. In such cases, however, the Central Government cannot take any action against IAS, IPS, or IFS officers serving in their state cadres.
• The Rule 7 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, states that ‘the authority to institute proceedings and to impose penalty shall rest with the State Government, if an officer is serving in connection with the affairs of the State, or is deputed for service in any company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the Government of that State or in a local authority set up by an Act of the Legislature of that State”.
• In Bandyopadhyay’s case, the state government has refused to relieve him for central deputation. Mamata Banerjee on May 31, 2021, wrote a letter to PM Modi requesting to reconsider the order of Bandyopadhyay’s central deputation while stating her shock over the Centre’s recall of Bandyopadhyay after granting approval for his extension.