Problems faced by civil servants in India

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Last updated on October 6, 2022

It is often said that Indian Civil Service is today neither ‘Indian’, Nor ‘Civil’, nor ‘Service’. Several cynics believe that bureaucracy is plagued with several ills like corruption, political interference, unfair public expectations, predatory media scrutiny etc but there exists an underlying cause behind these ills. The following article thus discusses in detail the major problems faced by civil servants in India.

Problems faced by civil servants

Problems faced by civil servants


The term ‘Civil Servants’ refer to the career bureaucrats who are the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country. In India’s parliamentary democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the people’s elected representatives—cabinet ministers. But a handful of ministers cannot be expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration. Thus, the ministers lay down the policy and it is for the civil servants, who serve at the pleasure of the President of India, to carry it out. However, Article 311 of the constitution protects them from politically motivated or vindictive action.

Civil servants are employees of the Government of India or of the states, but not all employees of the Government are civil servants. The civil service system in India is rank-based and does not follow the tenets of the position-based civil services. There are three categories of civil services
1. All India Civil Services: The All India Civil Services comprises the following services:

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Forest Service (IFoS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • The officers in these offices are recruited by the Centre, but placed under various State cadres after being trained by the Centre. They have a liability to serve both the Centre and the State.

Central Civil Services (CCS): The Central Civil Services (CCS) is directly concerned with the administration and permanent bureaucracy of the Government of India. The specialised civil services fields in India mostly belong to the central services. The CCS are classified into Group A gazette officers, who are appointed by the President of India himself, and Group B gazette officers, who are appointed by President-ordered authorities (except for officers for the Central Secretariat Service, who are selected by the President). The Central Services have been divided into four categories: 1. Central Service Class I, 2. Central Service Class II, 3. Central Service Class III, and 4. Central Service Class IV.3. State Civil ServicesThe State Civil Services, also called the Provincial Civil Services deal with state related issues, including education, land revenue, forests, agriculture etc. they are recruited by the State Public Service Commissions.


The present civil services of India are mainly based on the pattern of the former Indian Civil Service of British India. Need for the civil service was felt soon after the Company acquired territories after the Battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764). Warren Hastings laid the foundation of civil service by creating the post of District Collector who was made in-charge of collecting land revenue. This post was soon abolished on grounds of excessive concentration of powers and corruption. Charles Cornwallis reformed, modernised, and rationalised it. Hence, Charles Cornwallis is known as ‘the father of civil service in India’. Cornwallis introduced two divisions of the Indian Civil service—covenanted (only for Europeans with high pay) and uncovenanted (for Indians at lower rung of administration with low wages).The Charter Act of 1853 provided for an open competitive examination for recruitment of civil servants and had deprived the Court of Directors of the power of appointments based on patronage. This was recommended by a committee headed by Lord Macaulay. First competitive exam was held in 1855. After the Government of India Act of 1858, the higher civil service in India came to be known as the Indian Civil Services (ICS).The Indian Civil Services Act of 1861 provided that certain posts under the Government of India were to be reserved for persons who had been a resident of India for 7 years or more. This paved the way for the entry of Indians into the higher civil services. The Indian Civil Services Act of 1870 carried the process of Indianization of civil services forward. Satyendranath Tagore was the first Indian to get selected in the Indian Civil Services.With the passing of the Government of India Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India were split into two—the All India Services and the Central Services. The All India and Central Services (Group A) were designated as Central Superior Services as early as 1924.  Aitchison Committee was appointed by Lord Dufferin to recommend changes in the civil services. The Committee recommended that the Covenanted and Uncovenanted Civil Services should be changed into Imperial, Provincial, and Subordinate civil services.The Civil Services in British India was of immense importance. It was the steel-frame on which British Empire rested. Viscount Lee Commission, set up in 1923, had recommended the creation of a public service commission for the purpose of conducting examinations to recruit the civil servants. Accordingly, a public service commission was set up in 1926.The Government of India Act, 1935 enlarged the powers of the commission and made it a Federal Public Service Commission. After independence, it became the Union Public Service Commission, with constitutional status since 1950.The present modern civil service was formed after the partition of India in 1947. It was Sardar Patel’s vision that the civil service should strengthen cohesion and national unity. The values of integrity, impartiality, and merit remain the guiding principles of the Indian civil services.The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, located in New Delhi, is unofficially the ‘Ministry of Civil Services’. The Ministry is responsible for training, reforms, and pensions for the civil service system in India. Every year on April 21National Civil Services Day, Prime Minister will deliver a great speech stating to be transparent, to fight against corruption, daring, dashing and dynamic officers are a need to the nation, etc


It is often said that Indian Civil Service is today neither ‘Indian’, Nor ‘Civil’, nor ‘Service’.  Several cynics believe that bureaucracy is plagued with several ills like corruption, political interference, unfair public expectations, predatory media scrutiny etc. 
No Recognition for Excellence: All civil servants get their promotions based on their seniority. One’s destiny is fixed by his/her relationship with seniors and what you do in next 30-38 years is hardly of any consequence as far as your career is concerned. Initially, when brilliant students join civil services, they work very hard to deliver results and change the system. However, soon they realize that there are several colleagues, who don’t work even half and get all the (legal) benefits as them. They also realize that the more you work, the more chances of you committing a mistake and more chances of punishment. Hence gradually they too become slow and practical.  According to Aristotle, the excellence is an art won by training and habituation. It is not mandatory that your work will be recognized and appreciated every time. When you work in civil services, there is nothing that you can achieve without the cooperation of your team and the goodwill of the people. Honest and brave officers are threatened with suspension and humiliation.
Corruption: The overall condition in our governance system is unpleasant. At first glance, it would seem that not very many are morally good. Some people, during preparation talk against corruption, once they get into service they change. If you want to become an honest IAS officer, then you have to deal with many shortcomings in the career due to honesty from getting not top posts to being threatened by politicians. Aspirants should understand the essence of the term “civil servant”. Then only on can succeed in this profession. Daily, new circumstance emerges, issues manifest, and the Civil Servant must be set up to meet the circumstance and tackle the issue. Every year, dozens of top civil servants are arrested and put behind the bar. Your reputation is 100% spoiled even if you are not caught. Once you start doing illegal activities, you can never go back to your honest life because you will always be blackmailed by your superiors and juniors who know where you committed the illegal acts. Corruption is one way traffic, with no U-turn. When you do any illicit demonstration, there is always a risk of getting caught even after you have demitted the office. you may face vigilance action or face CBI or Income Tax raid at your house, which can spoil your career forever.
Frequent Transfers: People join civil services to occupy the prominent positions like DM, SP or Commissioners. They get all their recognition, perks and privileges only on these posts. However, they don’t know how long they can continue in these postings and changing their job every month and year. That is what the average IAS officer life once he tries, to be honest. The transfer malaise is all-pervasive. Everything relies on the impulses of the minister and sometimes an honest to goodness necessity. Sometimes transfers are so often that in a year one can get transferred to as many as 5-6 different places. Transfer, unquestionably it is a major issue when the life partner is likewise working and cannot change the urban areas so every now and again. This also affects the family, kids, etc. If a politician doesn’t like a bureaucrat in a particular department, he/she does not have the power to remove them from the job, but can transfer them to some other department.
Political Interference: Who does not know about political interference in India, particularly in IAS and IPS? Most of these officers have to have political godfathers. The politicians use them to get their work done and the officers use them to get their postings and also protect them in case of any problems.  Often you have to do illegal things to keep the bosses and politicians happy and thus you get trapped forever in their clutches. You can neither leave them nor live with them. There may not be much political interference in Central Services, but then they are also not helped by politicians when they need them. One of the dark sides of being a civil servant is that if they do not comply with the politicians in that area (who are way much powerful), they are exposed to the risk of getting transferred, which can include difficult postings. The IAS officer at the region level works in coordination with the MP and MLA. They both are required to serve the common people by bringing development, welfare, well-being and peace to the society where they belong to. The first and foremost challenge is the dispute between the IAS officers and MP or MLA. The major reason is the difference in opinion, corruption, using public office for personal use and protection given to criminals and law breakers by the MP and MLA. At the point when this debate comes to a threshold point, the IAS is either transferred or kept under the dread of getting executed. Recently, US think tank expressed its views on concerns about political interference and outdated personnel procedures in the Indian civil services. The political interference led to substantial inefficiency where the vital positions are not held by the best officers and ultimately this can lead to institutional decline. They have to bear with dirty politics and political intervention.
Promotion or Demotion: While in other jobs, you gain importance as you get more and more experience. Unfortunately, it is just opposite in IAS, IPS. You are the most important person when you are SP or DM. Even the CM is directly in touch with you. This happens within just 3-5 years of your joining the cadre after training. However, as you get promoted to DIG, IG or Commissioner/Secretary, your importance declines. There are several dozen IG, ADG and even DG sitting in the state capital, and no one knows them. The IAS officers also become just a glorified babu when they become secretaries after promotion. Most people don’t even know that such posts exist in their cadre. The situation is different in Central Services where your importance rises with every promotion. But then central service officer doesn’t ever have that level of social adulation.
Poor Salaries: While the starting salaries of a civil servant are decent his growth of salary is just @ 3% per annum (plus the Dearness Allowance). The ratio of the peak salary to starting salary of an IAS officer is just four times. However, the story is quite different in corporate. the top man is paid more than 1000 times more salary than the entry level employee. No honest civil servant can ever afford to buy a decent house in a good locality in any Metropolitan city. The low salaries were earlier compensated by the liberal pension given by the Government which used to be revised after every pay commission.[1] However, once the pension benefit is stopped, there is no back-up support after retirement. This make him fall in the trap of making illicit money for his survival, even after his superannuation. But then there is always the fear of using that money in buying houses and cars because there could be possibilities of IT and CBI raids.Poor Family Life: While the family life of central service officers like IRS may be normal, the life of IAS and IPS are quite challenging in the initial years when you are heading a district. Most of the districts in India are quite backward with hardly a decent living. You are working 12 hours a day and hardly have any time for family. You also make so many enemies, if you an honest officer and you family is always fearing about your safety and of their own.
Diminishing Social Relevance: In the pre-liberalized era, government officers were looked as the Mai-Baap for a common citizen of India. Their salaries were comparable with private sectors but their perks were far superior. They were playing leading roles in social development. Today, most of the space is filled with private sectors. Our Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi once said, “I believe government has no business to do business. The focus should be on Minimum Government but Maximum Governance.”  Today a company like Infosys or TCS provides around 40000-50000 jobs each year while UPSC and PSC put together don’t appoint as many people. It is also a fact that most Indians don’t like civil servants, who are perceived to be inefficient and corrupt. They are seen as hindrance to the growth of India rather than an instrument of growth
Frustration: Management of people is the most difficult science, but the easiest art. The Civil service job profile is always collaboration where one needs to work with legislators, authorities, and average folks. The IAS officers encounter greatest anxiety and stress when they need to face a substantial number of vulnerabilities and constantly changing the workplace. They always have to work under pressure.
Other perils: They have to lose their constitutional right i.e. freedom of expression. They can’t criticize government or its policies. That is considered indiscipline.After election and change of governments many officers are punished and humiliated.If something good happens the credit goes to the government (political leadership) and if there is a failure, the administration (bureaucracy) is held responsible.They are made scapegoats sometimes specially after communal tensions, riots, others big incidents.


Most of the time even before an honest officer can see any positive results to his modules, he is either suspended or given a posting where he or she is essentially a glorified clerk. If you don’t pander to some illiterate politician’s whims and fancies, you will most likely see yourself being given marching orders to Mizoram, the favoured destination for so called ‘disgraced’ members of the bureaucracy! Everywhere there are glaring examples of how the bureaucracy is just a toy thing in the hands of a gleefully delinquent political group. In the sand box of their playground, female officers are a particularly preferred lot to be harassed either sexually or otherwise.
Ashok Khemka: Mr Ashok Khemka, a senior officer in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), of the Haryana cadre, is a 1991 batch IAS officer. In his 27 years career, he was transferred 52 times. That means approximately two transfers per year. The sole reason of his transfers was that he was honest and exposed the corruption that existed in his departments. Khemka had first come into the spotlight in 2012 after he cancelled the mutation of the Rs 58 crore land deal between Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and realty giant DLF. The Congress-ruled government in Haryana had then filed a chargesheet against Khemka for “wrongly” cancelling the deal, but the BJP government dropped the charge sheet when it came to power in the state in 2014.Khemka’s recent transfer came after he landed in soup for asking a Haryana government minister to return an officer’s car.Then, in an interview with a media group, Khemka had said, “It (the transfers) is (are) routine now and doesn’t bother me anymore.” He said, “I have had problems in every regime. They are all a bunch of crooks in power and none can afford to support an honest man.” In fact, Khemka is not the lone ‘honest’ bureaucrat who had to face pressure from political circles and ‘other vested interests’. In the recent past, there have been many IAS and IPS officers who were transferred several times due to similar reasons and in some extreme cases, some of the bureaucrats were also alleged to have been killed by those on the wrong side of the law. A look at a few of them.

Bharti Arora, 1998 batch IPS of Haryana cadre.: Bharti Arora had hogged limelight in October 2015 when she was the Joint Comissioner of Police, Gurgaon and had levelled serious allegations of harassment, mental torture and interference in a high-profile rape case against her senior, then Gurgaon police commissioner, Navdeep Virk. The case turned ugly and a lot of other people got involved. Haryana government had then transferred her as a principal of a government sports school in Rai near Sonipat after this. This was the first time when an IPS officer was posted as a principal in a school.

Rahul Sharma || IPS, 1992-batch: Rahul Sharma, an IPS-officer-turned lawyer, was posted as the SP in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat when the Godhra riots broke out. He is regarded as one of the few who responded promptly and controlled the violence.  According to reports, on the third day of the riots, Sharma issued orders to open fire on a 10,000-strong mob who were set to torch a madrasa sheltering around 400 Muslim children. G C Raigar, who was posted as the intelligence head during the riots, in an interview said, “He’s (Rahul Sharma) under scrutiny [by the government] for saving Muslim lives. He saved Muslim children in a school. Not only saved but he also arrested some people and [he] arresting a ruling party member so they got him transferred from his posting.”Sharma’s actions reportedly miffed then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and following his deposition before the Nanavati Commission, Sharma was shunted out to a low-profile post at the Ahmedabad police control room.

Shrestha Thakur || IPS, 2012-batch: Shrestha Thakur was lauded for her bravado and sense of duty, who was then the DSP of UP police, for chiding district-level BJP worker Pramod Lodhi and others for not carrying proper vehicle documentation in western UP’s Bulandshahr. The man allegedly misbehaved with police officers following which he was arrested, the police had said. However, things took an unexpected turn when Thakur along with some other deputy superintendents was transferred to the Bahraich district bordering Nepal. Though the police department claimed that it was a routine transfer, past events hinted at something different. In April this year, SSP Love Kumar and Agra SSP Pritinder Singh were transferred after they took stringent action against BJP leaders and workers of RSS affiliates such as Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

Durga Shakti Nagpal || IAS, 2009-batchIn 2013, Durga Shakti Nagpal (28) took on the illegal sand mining mafia in Noida head on. Between February and July that year, she registered 66 FIRs, arrested 104 people and seized 81 vehicles engaged in illegal mining. However, her actions ruffled the feathers of the Samajwadi Party government which was in power then and it ordered her suspension. Justifying its actions, the SP government had said Nagpal disrupted communal harmony by destroying the wall of a mosque in Noida. The suspension row took a U-turn when a video of SP leader Narender Bhati surfaced where he was seen explaining how after he found out about the plans to tear down the mosque wall, he called party chief Akhilesh Yadav and got her suspended within 41 minutes. After the video became public, her suspension was revoked by the SP government and she joined as joint magistrate of Kanpur rural.  In 2015, Nagpal was appointed as an officer on special duty (OSD) to Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh. The case of Durga Shakti Nagpal, 28, boils down to whether she was inciting religious disharmony through her order, or whether she was getting her comeuppance for trying to stop a sand mining racket in India’s most populous state. Her suspension also has highlighted the difficulties that bureaucrats face every day.
Manoje Nath ||  IPS, 1973-batch: Manoje Nath, a retired IPS officer of the 1973 batch, was transferred at least 40 times in his 39-year-old career. He was also never considered for the top post and was thrice superseded by officers much junior to him. Nath was side-lined ever since he locked horns with the former chairman of Bihar State Electricity Board Swapan Mukherjee and pursued a graft case against him. Not only was the charge quashed but Nath was also served with a show-cause notice asking him to explain why he had held a press meet on the issue. The government also brought an insubordination case against him which was later dismissed by the court. Since then, he was never given a key post in the administration and when he was, Nath was transferred within months. In fact, during Nitish Kumar’s first tenure as Bihar CM, Nath was transferred four times in a year.
In Munnar, the time that bureaucrats spend in their posting is always limited – especially if they’re the kind who are upright and want to uphold the law. Every time an IAS officer wanted to take strict action against illegal construction and land encroachment in the district, they’ve been shunted out – by a system that’s believed to be backed by the land mafia. And between an officer taking office and them being shifted out is the time when politicians decide to dole out insults, with no respect for either the officers in charge, or the people who voted them to power.The most recent instance of course is that of Devikulam MLA S Rajendran launching a tirade against sub-collector Renu Raj, because she dared to oppose an illegal construction. “She doesn’t have brains. Just because she is an IAS, she is trying to act smart. People who study only to become a collector will only have so much brains,” Rajendran said in public.But Renu Raj is nowhere near the first bureaucrat in Devikulam to lock horns with a politician – or indeed, with Rajendran himself. In 2017, the then-sub-collector Sriram Venkitaraman was threatened that he would be “amputated” and would have to crawl all the way from Munnar for acting against land encroachment. The verbal abuse was taken a step further against Sriram’s successor, VR Premkumar. Rajendran alleged that Premkumar had passed the Civil Services exam by cheating. Electricity minister MM Mani meanwhile claimed that the IAS officer was “mentally challenged” and under the control of someone else. “We will not approve the actions taken by a lunatic who came from somewhere. The sub-collector has committed something unbecoming of his position,” Mani had said.It’s not just verbal abuse though. In just the last eight years, 14 sub-collectors have been moved out of Devikulam.The IAS Officers’ Association of Karnataka has approached Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking action against a Congress MLA for allegedly abusing and threatening a senior IAS officer with dire consequences if he did not put up “favourable notes” for proposals submitted by a society headed by the MLA.In fact, male officers like top cop KPS Gill even faced sexual molestation charges after he allegedly pinched IAS officer Rupan Deol Bajaj’s posterior. And then of course he went on to be awarded by the government with a Padma Shri! That’s the kind of political system we live in where outstanding officers are relegated to obscurity among dusty files and the ones with no integrity and character move on to higher laurels.
Shah Faesal, a 2010 batch IAS Officer resigned because of the constant interference in the work of honest officers and obstructing welfare of Kashmiris for political agendas.“I wish to remind the regime of the day that subversion of public institutions like RBI, CBI and NIA has the potential to decimate the Constitutional edifice of this Country and it needs to be stopped. I wish to reiterate that voices of reason in this country cannot be muzzled for long and the environment of siege will need to end if we wish to usher in true democracy,” he stated while announcing his decision to resign.The feeling that maybe the iron frame is no longer suitable often comes up when the political system tries to use the IAS to deliver on its political or personal agendas. The list is endless…honesty and integrity have no place in the civil services. Many have even paid with their lives. There are so many stories about the dark sides of IAS and IPS which are never published in the newspapers. They end up remaining anonymous.


Part XIV of the Constitution of India deals with Services under The Union and The State. Chapter-1 contains articles 308-312 that deals with All India Services. It also has article 312-A which deals with power of Parliament to vary or revoke conditions of service of officers of certain services. Chapter – 2 of part XIV deals with Public Service Commissions and it has articles 315-323. By 42nd amendment of the Constitution Part XIV-A was also inserted into the Constitution of India. It has article 323-A and 323-B. This part deals with establishment of administrative tribunals for the Union and separate administrative tribunal for each State or for two or more States, whereby, Civil Courts cease to have jurisdiction to adjudicate matters relating to Civil Servants.Article 309 empowers the Parliament and the State legislature to regulate the recruitment, and conditions of service of persons appointed, to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State respectively. It also authorities the President or the Governor, to make rules for the above purposes until provision in that behalf is made by or under an Act of Parliament. Parliament has not so far passed any law on the subject. Recruitment and the conditions of service of Central Government servants in general continue to be governed by rules made by the President under Article 309. The rules made under the Article which are relevant are: –  i. The C.C.S. (Conduct) Rules, 1964. ii. The C.C.S. (C.C.A.) Rules, 1965. iii. The Railway (D.&A.) Rules, 1968. iv. The C.C.S. (T.S.) rules, 1965.Under Article 312 of the Constitution, Parliament has enacted the All India Services Act, 1951. Under Sec. 3 of that Act, the President has framed rules regulating various aspects of conditions of services of persons appointed to the All India Services.Under Article 310, The member of Defence services or civil services of the union or All-India services hold their office during the pleasure of president. Similarly, member of state services holds the office during the pleasure of governor. there are certain offices which are outside the purview of article 310 and article 311 was put as a restriction to doctrine of pleasure. Services excluded from the purview of Article 310 1.Tenure of supreme court judges{Article124} 2.Tenure of high court judges{Article148(2)} 3.The chief election commissioner{Article324} 4.Chairman and member of public- service commission{Article317)The article 311 acts as a safeguard to civil servants. It reads as under; (1) No person who is a member of a civil service of the Union or an all-India service or a civil service of a State or holds a civil post under the Union or a State shall be dismissed or removed by an authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed. (2) No such person as aforesaid shall be dismissed or removed or reduced in rank except after an inquiry in which he has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges: Provided that where, it is proposed after such inquiry, to impose upon him any such penalty, such penalty may be imposed on the basis of the evidence adduced during such inquiry and it shall not be necessary to give such person any opportunity of making representation on the penalty proposed: Provided further that this clause shall not apply — (a) where a person is dismissed or removed or reduced in rank on the ground of conduct which has led to his conviction on a criminal charge; or (b) where the authority empowered to dismiss or remove a person or to reduce him in rank is satisfied that for some reason, to be recorded by that authority in writing, it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry; or (c) where the President or the Governor, as the case may be, is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State it is not expedient to hold such inquiry.  (3) If, in respect of any such person as aforesaid, a question arises whether it is reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry as is referred to in clause (2), the decision thereon of the authority empowered to dismiss or remove such person or to reduce him in rank shall be final.”The procedure laid down in Article 311 is intended to assure, first, a measure of security of tenure to Government servants, who are covered by the Article and secondly to provide certain safeguards against arbitrary dismissal or removal of a Government servant or reduction to a lower rank. These provisions are enforceable in a court of law. Where there is an infringement of Article 311, the orders passed by the disciplinary authority are void ab-initio and in the eye of law “no more than a piece of waste paper” and the Government servant will be deemed to have continued in service or in the case of reduction in rank, in his previous post throughout. Article 311 is of the nature of a proviso to Article 310. The exercise of pleasure by the President under Article 310 is thus controlled and regulated by the provisions of Article 311. The most notable point is that Article 311 is available only when ‘dismissal, removal, reduction in rank is by way of punishment’, so it is difficult to determine as to when an order of termination of service or reduction in rank amounts to punishment. In case of Parshottam Lal Dhingra Vs Union of India[2]. The supreme court laid down 2 tests to determine when termination is by way of punishment – Whether the servant had a right to hold the post or the rank; Whether he has been visited with evil consequences. If a government servant had a right to hold the post or rank under the terms of any contract of service, or under any rule, governing the service, then the termination of his service or reduction in rank amounts to a punishment and he will be entitled to protection under Article 311. Articles 310 and 311 apply to Government servants, whether permanent, temporary, officiating or on probation. Supreme court in case of such Sukhbans Singh v. State of Punjab[3]**** clearly held that suspension from service and compulsory retirement is neither dismissal nor removal nor reduction in rank, therefore, if a Government servant is suspended he cannot claim the constitutional guarantee of Article 311[2]
In Shyam Lal Vs State of U.P,[4] Supreme Court held that compulsory retirement differ from dismissal and removal as it involves no penal consequences and also a government servant who is compulsory retired does not loose any part of benefit earned during the service so it doesn’t attract the provisions of Article 311.
In many cases like in Khem Chand vs. Union of India[5], and in Union of India and another vs. Tulsiram Patel[6] , the Supreme Court gave an exhaustive interpretation of the various aspects involved and they provide the administrative authorities authoritative guidelines in dealing with disciplinary cases.
When a government servant is punished for the same misconduct under the army act and also under central civil services (classification and control and appeal) rules 1965 then the question arises that can it be brought under the ambit of double jeopardy. The answer was given by supreme court in the case of **Union of India Vs Sunil Kumar Sarkar**[7], held that the court martial proceeding is different from that of central rules, the former deals with the personal aspect of misconduct and latter deals with disciplinary aspect of misconduct.


In October 2013, the Supreme Court of India, in the case of TSR Subramanian & Ors vs Union of India & Ors.[8]**** ordered both Government of India and State governments to ensure fixed tenure to civil servants. Fixed tenure of bureaucrats will promote professionalism, efficiency and good governance, much of the deterioration in the functioning of bureaucracy is due to political interference. The court asked senior bureaucrats to write down the oral instructions from politicians so that a record would be kept of all the decisions. This judgement was seen on the similar lines of the Supreme Court’s 2006 judgement in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, on police reforms. The judgement was welcomed by various bureaucrats and the media who hoped that it will help in giving freedom and independence to the functioning of bureaucracy. Much of the deterioration in the functioning of bureaucracy is due to political interference.”The Indian Administrative Service Meets Big Data, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has stated —“The IAS is hamstrung by political interference, outdated personnel procedures, and a mixed record on policy implementation, and it needs urgent reform. The Indian government should reshape recruitment and promotion processes, improve performance-based assessment of individual officers, and adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling.” As of 2011, in a duration of past three years over 450 chargesheets have been filed and a total of 943 cases are at different stages of investigation by CBI against civil servants.“We estimate that if India were to pursue civil service reforms and reach the Asian average on government effectiveness, it could add 0.9 percentage points annually to per capita GDP… Institutional quality is a crucial driver of economic performance.”—     **Goldman Sachs report**A study by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, released in 2012, ranked and rated Indian bureaucracy as the worst in Asia with a 9.21 rating out of 10. According to the study, India’s inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy was responsible for most of the complaints that business executive has about the country. A paper prepared in 2012 by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions states that corruption is prevalent at all levels in civil services and it is institutionalised.On 28 November 2011, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions created a proposal to retire and remove incompetent, inefficient and unproductive All India Service officers after 15 years of service, instead of tolerating them until their retirement. Former Cabinet Secretary TSR Subramanian welcomed this move with caution, saying, “Periodical weeding out is very good. But the process to determine who needs to be prematurely retired should be fair and transparent. There is a possibility that even good officers may be targeted because of political reasons. The proposal has been accepted and rule 16(3) of the All India Services (death-cum-retirement benefits) Rules of 1958 was amended on 31 January 2012.In 2016, the Ministry of Finance for the first time, dismissed 72 and prematurely retired another 33 Indian Revenue Service officers for non-performance and on disciplinary grounds. In 2016, it was reported that Government of India has decided to empower common man to seek prosecution of corrupt IAS officers. Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (DOPT) has accepted to receive requests from private persons seeking sanction for prosecution in respect of IAS officers without any proper proposal and supporting documents. Earlier this year the government decided to allow the recruitment of 10 experts to the joint-secretary level from outside the services. This move has raised serious questions about the political inclinations that the appointed experts might have, and how the ruling party might use it to their benefit. Naresh Chandra Saxena, a retired public servant himself, writes that there are risks of corrupting the service with this reform, but one must hope that the process of selection is impartial. Instead, the government should ensure stable tenures so that there is incentive for officers to acquire expertise in their chosen sectors. Many have condemned the bypassing of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as an attempt to facilitate the backdoor entry of people committed to the present government’s ideology, or recruit employees working for those industrialists who are close to the ruling party.
Govind Bhattacharjee has suggested that the very constitutional provision on which the civil services are based needs to be urgently reformed to make room for “a new code of ethics based on self-regulation, accountability and transparency.” Under the Central Civil Services (CCS) (Conduct) Rules, 1964, fundamental rights available to citizens of country are sometimes denied to officers serving in the cadre. For instance, Rule 9 prohibits any public servant to publish “in his own name or anonymously or pseudonymously or in the name of any other person” any “statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Central Government or a State Government.”  [9]Nearly 70 years after independence, civil servants in this country no longer want to be treated as unruly kids ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. The house of cards in which they have been made to live for so long needs to be dismantled once and for all. The dated CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964, must be consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced by a new code of ethics based on self-regulation, accountability and transparency.[10]”The Indian government should reshape recruitment and promotion processes, improve performance-based assessment of individual officers, and adopt safeguards that promote accountability while protecting bureaucrats from political meddling,” said the report authored by Milan Vaishnav and Saksham Khosla.

Read more Articles on themes related to the Constitution of India: Articles on Constitution of India

[1] Yadav, Ajay Singh, Why I am not a civil servant, Bluejay Books, 2001, p58.

[2] AIR 1958 SC 36.

[3] 1962 AIR 1711.

[4] AIR 1954 All 235.

[5] 1958 AIR 300.

[6] 1985 AIR 1416.

[7] AIR 2001 SC 1092.

[8] W.P. (C) No. 82 of 2011.

[9]Panjabi, Kewal Lalchand, The Civil Servant in India, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1965,p 95.

[10]Kaw, M. K., Bureaucrazy: IAS unmasked, Konark Publishers, 1993, p 173.

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