The overnight transfer of Mr Basant Rath an IPS officer who was IG traffic Kashmir zone caught everyone by surprise. The decision followed soon after his twitter spat with a political novice turned Srinagar Mayor Mr Junaid Matoo. Mayor had highlighted the case of traffic mismanagement directing his ire at Mr Rath as if he wasn’t doing his job well. The executive and legislative organs of government are altogether separate with relative separation of powers and jurisdiction. The IPS officer is selected through an appropriate series of hierarchical recruitment test through UPSC board. It’s selection is followed by special training module for all the officers in established academies. Herein they are equipped with public administration and management skills to handle the situations after appointment. There are a series of laws especially the article 312 which govern them. The rank , promotion, transfer , cadre , discipline et al are governed by well framed laws. However the absolute discretion of the cabinet in the transfer of these officers with Ministry of Personnel in lower rung has came to table of criticism at some instances. The transfer Mr Basant Rath is seen through similar prism.
The rules framed to govern the specific technical issues related with all India service are oft repeatedly circulated in legal fraternity. However in case of Mr Basant Rath the immediate action taken from corridors of central government have become a thorny issue. There are two possible narratives drawn from this action taken in a hurry. Either the politics became central and the duty of an honest officer secondary or the routine case of using the discretionary power as tool to change equations. Whatever the case may be an officer with exceptional qualities was hounded out in order to placate the ego of a politician.
Officer was admired for his simplicity and outreach. He adopted a unique way to counter problems associated with traffic crisis in Kashmir region. He took stern action against the guilty disregarding their political clout. He dared to take on even the police, politicians, criminals if they were found violating the rules. No wonder he gained fame among disgruntled Kashmiris and re-introduced policing to new generation here which only knew the force for killings and excesses.
The decision of central government to transfer the executive officers on pretext of political equations is not a good sign. Therefore the following suggestion can be adopted here after. The establishment of a board overlooking the merit of transfers of ALL INDIA SERVICE. This board shall consist of members of former civil servants and some judicial luminaries. This board shall be granted required autonomy to make it immune from any political interference. On the other hand the space provision for ALL INDIA SERVICE officers to adopt their own ways within legal precincts shall be permitted.. Unless and until we make the modification in the set procedure the political intervention is hard to stave off. The necessary amendments through parliamentary debate to provide them security and correlate their promotion quota to efficiency and merit on case by case basis need to be adopted and implemented. As is said ” the son’s hindsight is father’s farsight”. The sooner we awake the faster the governance will improve which in turn would revolutionize the public delivery of services
Shahid Majeed Mir
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