Government may amend rulebook to protect upright IAS officers - The New Indian Express

Government may amend rulebook to protect upright IAS officers

Published: 10th August 2013 07:51 AM

Last Updated: 10th August 2013 07:51 AM

Despite the continued ruckus in Parliament, the government is moving with frenetic speed to bring amendments to two bills - one to stall the immediate disqualification of convicted MLAs and MPs and another to ensure that IAS officers are not suspended or transferred for taking action in their line of duty.

There is greater urgency to bring an amendment to overrule the Supreme Court verdict on disqualification of convicted elected representatives as the Election Commission has already issued a notification to implement the court order.

The government is also preparing to seek a review of the SC order, by which it had struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification for six months pending appeal. With the moving ahead with implementation of the order, MPs, MLAs, and MLCs who are convicted would face disqualification from the date of their conviction.

However, sources said, the government is moving cautiously on the issue although it had the support of parties across the spectrum.  The constitutional amendment will deal with the aspect where the apex court has pronounced that Parliament had exceeded its right conferred on it through Section 8 (4) of the Representation of People’s Act and therefore the provision that allowed convicted representatives to continue as MPs/MLAs was ultra vires (beyond their legal power).

The constitutional amendment to nullify the Supreme Court ruling would have to be drafted with political consensus.  On the issue of the suspension/transfer of IAS officers in the wake of the controversy surrounding the suspension of woman officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, the government is considering amendment to rules that deal with disciplinary action against an officer in service.

The government is likely to bring an amendment to the All India Service (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 to ensure that an officer of such stature is not suspended due to political vendetta or other vested interests.  The Department of Personnel is initiating the move so that officers are not hindered in their work or victimised for taking action in line of duty.

The amendment once passed will not just be applicable to IAS officers, but also extended to other members of the civil services - Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service.

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