was done contrary to the earlier Supreme Court (SC) ruling
that the SD is illegal as it is discriminatory in nature
and blurs the distinction between decision-making officers
and other civil servants. The SC again sought the government's
explanation for retaining the provision in the CVC Act.
notion of protecting civil servants from consequences of
any untoward official decisions was originally intended
to protect honest and upright bureaucrats from harassment.
Such a policy was premised on the need to nurture an impartial,
upright and independent civil service as crucial component
of our democracy. However, Art 311 of the Constitution regulating
the dismissal and removal of civil servants has been grossly
abused over the past five decades and is being routinely
interpreted as the civil servants' guarantee of tenure and
protection from prosecution.
the inclusion of the SD in the CVC Bill, the Union Minister
for Law, Arun Jaitley, argued that this enabled bureaucrats
to exercise their discretion without fear of harassment
by malicious investigations. This is exactly the argument
that bureaucrats employ to defend the Directive which they
portray as a necessary protection against an investigating
agency more than capable of misusing its powers.
is common knowledge that AP government has been sitting
tight on files seeking permission to prosecute scores of
civil servants for alleged corruption and other misdeeds.
Due to both collusive and other factors, the civil services
are largely perceived to be above law. This has created
an aura of invincibility among the bureaucrats leading to
an utter lack of accountability in their functioning at
all levels. The governments and courts have made it impossible
to remove an officer resulting in highly unprofessional
and unaccountable behaviour.
is indeed a startling admission by the civil servants and
politicians that crime investigation agencies can be manipulated
to settle scores with political opponents. That being the
case, what faith can citizens have in the crime investigation
and governance process? The solution lies in separating
the crime investigation process from political control and
placing it under quasi-judicial control.
to say, a competent, dedicated, non-partisan and accountable
civil service is vital to our governance system. It is in
our best interests that such a bureaucracy is in place and
the requisite systems and instruments to hold them accountable
are adopted. Only then would competent and honest governance
be ensured. Anything short of it will only confirm the lordly
civil servant's belief in his being above law, without any
will to mend his ways. There are no holy cows in our democracy
except freedom, citizen sovereignty and rule of law.