New Delhi: A movement to rid the bureaucracy from whimsical political interference and corruption has reached the Apex Court. A petition was jointly filed by 83 former bureaucrats of all India services in the Supreme Court seeking guidelines for fixed tenures and for setting up of high-powered statutory Civil Services Board to decide transfers/postings of civil servants.

Peeved over the increasing political pressure in the wake of several scams, the petitioners sought court directions for making it mandatory for the bureaucrats to put down in writing all the instructions and suggestions they get from their administrative and political bosses, legislators and commercial and business interests or from those wielding influence in the corridors of power.

Giving relief to the bureaucrats in this connection, the Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Central and State governments and Union Territories and sought responses.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma issued the notices on a petition moved by the former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian and others.

According to the petitioners, "Change of government invariably lead to new rounds of transfers as the incoming group of political leaders seeks to reward supporters and put its "own" staff in key positions.

"Moreover, the 'transfer industry' is backed by entrenched and powerful vested interests as frequent transfers generate huge amounts of black money for corrupt officials and politicians, both directly and indirectly," it said.

Any premature transfer should specifically be authorized by the Civil Service Board/ Commission, on specific circumstances to be brought out in writing, it said.

"There is an urgent need to make the civil servants accountable, sensitive and responsive. If this is achieved, there will be across-the-spectrum benefits. Transfers are often used as instruments of reward and punishment, with officials being frequently transferred on the whims and fancies as well as the personal needs of local politicians and other vested interests.

Officers, especially those in the All India Services serving in state governments, have no stability or security of tenure," the petition said.

The petitioners submitted there should be an independent, high-powered and statutory Civil Services Board in each state that would process all proposals of postings and transfers.

"The recommendations of such a Board must normally be binding on the government. If, for any reason, the government decides not to implement the recommendations, it must pass a self-contained order on the subject and place a statement before the legislature," the petition added.

The absence of safeguards to the bureaucrats leads to weak governance resulting in whimsical intervention guided by personal gains, uncoordinated and wasteful public expenditure, inadequate transparency and lack of accountability, the petition noted.

 

(JPN/Bureau)