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Bengal vs Centre: Why the former Chief Secretary is bound by Centre’s rules

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New Delhi, June 01: The Centre and the West Bengal government headed by Mamata Banerjee have been at loggerheads over the transfer order of former Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyoadhyay.

Mamata asked the bureaucrat to stay put in Bengal. On Monday, the chief secretary retired and was made adviser to the CM. In the wake of this the Centre issued a show cause notice and directed the bureaucrat to be present in North Block by Tuesday.

Bengal vs Centre: Why the former Chief Secretary is bound by Centre’s rules

Former officer with the Research and Analysis Wing, Amar Bhushan said that under the rules an IAS official is essentially a central government employee allowed to work in the state. Previously in our times even to issue the pay slips we looked to the Centre.

Report at North Block today: Centre in show-cause notice to now retired Bengal chief secretaryReport at North Block today: Centre in show-cause notice to now retired Bengal chief secretary

In case the Centre wants someone on deputation, the State cannot say no to it. In my own case, the Intelligence Bureau had asked for my deputation. The Chief Minister put his foot down, but the communication came from the Ministry of Home Affairs, following which I was relieved, Bhushan also says.

If an officer in the rank of the IPS and IAS does not follow the order of the Department of Personnel and Training, then he or she may be issued with a show cause notice. The provisions of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules 1969 applicable to the IAS officers for penalties. These can be imposed in case the Centre decides to pursue the matter. These penalties could include, withholding of pension, censuring and withholding of increments. The punishment could also include compulsory retirement and removal from service.

PTI while quoting former IAS officer, E A S Sarma said that the IAS Rules no doubt empower the Centre to recall IAS officers from the state but such a recall should be based on justifiable grounds and for upholding the public interest. Even while taking such a decision, the Centre is required to hold prior consultation with the state and, in the event of disagreement, the Centre should cite the extraordinary circumstances that justify such a recall.

While speaking of consultations, the rules do not make consultation with the State Government mandatory. According to Rule 6 (1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules of 1954, a cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the state governments and the Centre, 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.

Bengal’s chief secretary retires amidst row with CentreBengal’s chief secretary retires amidst row with Centre

"Provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the central government and the state government or state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government," the rules also say.

Amar Bhushan says that this clearly shows that an officer is bound by the rules and he or she is answerable. Consultation is never mandatory in such cases, he also says.

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