Incensed by the CBI registering a case against former coal secretary PC Parakh in the coalgate scam, the AP IAS officers Association, which met here on Monday night, sounded an SOS to the President of India to take steps for prevalence of an appropriate environment and provision of adequate safeguards for serving and retired civil servants.
The association, pledging its support to Parakh and expressing deep anguish over the manner in which he has been implicated in a criminal case, wanted an amendment to section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, making prior sanction mandatory in respect of retired officers for any cognizance of offence to be taken by a court, association honorary secretary J Raymond Peter said on Tuesday.
The association also wanted amendment to section 197 of the CrPC clarifying whether the scope of the section extends to accusations of criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust. This, the association argued, is required in view of the recent tendency of the CBI to bypass the prior sanction requirement and charge officers by invoking IPC sections dealing with criminal conspiracy (Section 120-b) and criminal breach of trust (Sec 409).
The association also wanted provisions in the proposed Civil Services Performance Standard and Accountability Bill to protect legitimate decisions taken by civil servants. The association adopted another resolution that the investigating agencies should comply with the guidelines issued by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which has been reiterated by the Supreme Court recently.
By another resolution, the association wanted composition of CBI teams investigating allegations of criminality in policy decisions should be expanded to include persons having experience at the appropriate level and understanding of policy formulation and business rules in government.
The association felt that targeting a senior civil servant under the lens of criminal intent strikes at the roots of good governance especially when officers with impeccable track record are implicated in criminal cases excluding the counterpart political executive. This will only lead to serious policy and decision making paralysis at all levels of the government, it said.