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9/11/2016

RELATIONSHIPBETWEENTHEPOLITICALEXECUTIVEANDTHEPERMANENTCIVILSERVICE|INFOLINE

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RELATIONSHIPBETWEENTHEPOLITICALEXECUTIVEANDTHEPERMANENTCIVILSERVICE

TheIndianConstitutionprovidesforseparationofpowersbetweenthelegislature,executiveandjudiciarywithwell‑definedrolesand responsibilitiesforeachoneofthem.SinceIndiaisaparliamentarydemocracy,thereisaninterfacebetweenthelegislatureandtheexecutive attheleveloftheCouncilofMinisters,whichiscollectivelyresponsibletothelegislature.TheConstitutionseparatestheexecutiveintotwo

parts.IntermsofArticles53and154,theexecutivepoweroftheUnionandtheStatesvestsinthePresidentorGovernordirectlyorthrough

officerssubordinatetohim.TheseofficersconstitutethepermanentcivilserviceandaregovernedbyPartXIVoftheConstitution.

Theotherpartoftheexecutiveisthe‘political’.ThePresidentorGovernorisrequiredtoactaccordingtotheaidandadviceofhisCouncilof

Ministers,appointedunderArticles73and163oftheConstitution.Becausetheadviceisnormallybinding,suchadvicefortheofficersbecomes

anorderwhichtheymustobeyunderArticles77and166respectively.ThePresidentandGovernorframerulesfortheconductofbusinessin

thegovernment.WorkisallocatedamongMinistersaspertheGovernmentofIndia(AllocationofBusiness)Rulesandthemannerinwhich

theofficersarerequiredtohelpthePresidentorGovernortoexercisehisexecutivefunctionsisgovernedbytheGovernmentofIndia

(TransactionofBusiness)Rules.WhatthismeansisthatthoughofficersaresubordinatetothePresidentorGovernor,theycarryouttheorders

oftheCouncilofMinistersinaccordancewiththerules

framedinthisbehalf.TheRulesofBusinessofGovernmentdoprovidefortheSecretarytotheGovernmenttoadvisehisMinisteraboutthe

courseofactionproposedinaparticularma⋿ﵦerandtosubmittohimanotewhichtellshimabouttheproprietyorlegalityofhisordersand

suggestthateithersuchordersnotbegivenorthattheybesuitablymodified.TherelationshipbetweentheSecretaryandtheMinisteris

organic.TheMinisterhasthemandateofthepeopletogovern,buttheSecretaryhasanequivalentconstitutionalmandatetoadvisethe

Minister.Oncehisadvicehasbeensuitablyconsidered,unlesstheMinisterpassesanillegalorder,theSecretaryisboundtoimplementit.The

Minister,onhispart,isrequiredtosupporttheSecretarywhoisimplementinghisorder.Oncealawisframedor

rulesandregulationsareapproved,theyapplytoeveryone,whetheramemberofthepoliticalexecutiveorofthepermanentcivilservice.A

civilservantisrequiredtoimplementtheordersofgovernmentwithoutbias,withhonestyandwithoutfearorfavour.Itispreciselyinthis

areathatadegreeofadifferenceofopinionbeginstoemergebetweenthepoliticalexecutiveandthecivilservants.

Thishappensbecausethereisnosystemofspecifyingofaccountability,thusmakingtherelationshipbetweenthepoliticalexecutiveandthe

permanentcivilservantsonlyissuesensitive.

ThisunderscoresthecriticalityofdefiningtherelationshipbetweentheMinisterandthecivilservantmoreobjectively.Thisispossibleonlyif

weputtherelationshipinanoutput‑outcomeframework.Outputsorkeyresultsarespecificservicesthatthecivilservantsproduceand

deliver,andtherefore,thecivilservantsshouldbeheldtoaccountforthedeliveryofkeyresults,whichbecomesthebasisforevaluationof

theirperformance.Outcomeisthesuccessinachievingsocialgoalsandthepoliticalexecutivedecideswhatoutputsshouldbeincludedsothat

thedesiredoutcomesorsocialgoalscanbeachieved.Insuchascheme,thepoliticalexecutivebecomesaccountabletothelegislatureandthe

electoratefortheoutcome.Thepoliticalexecutiveisjudgedonthebasisofwhetherithaschosenthe

rightoutputstoachievesocialgoals.Ifthisisdone,therelationshipbetweenthepoliticalexecutiveandpermanentcivilservicewouldhave

beenobjectivelydefined.

AnotherareawhichhastensionintherelationshipisthearbitrarytransferandpostingofcivilservantsatthebehestofMinistersandother politicalleadersparticularlyinthestates.RobertWade,inhisstudyofAndhraPradesh,hasshownhowtheprocessworks.AsWadesays,“The transferisthepoliticians’basicweaponofcontroloverthebureaucracyandthustheleverforsurplus‑extractionfromtheclientsofthe bureaucracy.Withthetransferweaponnotonlycanthepoliticiansraisemoneybydirectsale;theycanalsoremovesomeonewhoisnot beingresponsive enoughtotheirmonetarydemandsortotheirrequestforfavourstothosefromwhomtheygetmoneyandelectoralsupport‑

9/11/2016

RELATIONSHIPBETWEENTHEPOLITICALEXECUTIVEANDTHEPERMANENTCIVILSERVICE|INFOLINE

inparticular,thecontractors.Oneisthusledtovisualiseaspecialcircuitoftransactions,inwhichthebureaucracyacquiresthecontrolof

funds….thenpassesaportiontoMLAsandespeciallyMinisters,whointurnusethefundsfordistributingshort‑termmaterialinducements

inexchangeforelectoralsupport.Thesefunds,itshouldbenoticed,doflowthroughthepublicdomain;buttheyareneitheropentopublic

scrutinynoravailableforpublicexpenditureprogrammes.”

Infact,theprocessoftransfersofcivilservantsisperceivedtobesolucrativethatitispopularlyknownasthetransferindustry.NNVohra,a

retiredcivilservant,hascommentedthat:

EthicsinGovernanceRelationshipbetweenthePoliticalExecutiveandthePermanentCivilService“Transfersofgovernmentfunctionaries haveinmanyStates,virtuallyassumedthestatusofanindustry.Officialsatalllevelsarerepeatedlyshiftedfromstationtostationinu⋿ﵦer disregardofthetenurepoliciesoranyconcernaboutthedisruptionofpublicservicesdeliveryandtheadverseeffectontheimplementationof developmentprogrammes.”InMohsinaBegum’scase,theAllahabadHighCourtlamentedthat‘wheneveranewgovernmentisformed,there isatidalwaveoftransfersofgovernmentservantsonthebasisofcasteorcommunityormonetaryconsiderations’leading to‘total emoralisationofthebureaucracyanditsdivisiononcasteandcommunalbasis,besidesspreadofcorruption’andbreakdownofall normsofadministration’.

HDShourieofCommonCausehadfiledaPublicInterestLitigationintheSupremeCourtaskingforadirectionforframingofrulesgoverning

theprocessoftransferofcivilservants.ButtheSupremeCourtrefusedtodosoonthegroundthat,Wedonotconsideritnecessarytoentertain

thiswritpetition…sincetheguidelinesfortakingsuchadministrativedecisionsarewellse⋿ﵦledanditisobviousthatalladministrative

decisionsshouldsatisfytheruleofnon‑arbitrarinessandbehonestandfair.Individualcasesinwhichthedecisionmakingprocessisvitiated

foranysuchreasoncanalwaysbechallengedinasuitablemanner.

TheFifthPayCommissionwasdriventomakesomeadverseobservationsaboutthe‘transferindustry’.TheCommissiondeclared:Thereisa

definitefeelingthattheinstrumentoftransferiswidelymisusedinthiscountry,particularlybypoliticiansinpower,tosubjugatethe

governmentemployees.Transferisalsousedasaninstrumentofpunishment….Demandshave,therefore,beenmadethatnotransferbefore

theexpiryofthreeyearsinapost,shouldbemadeappealable,particularlyifithasbeenmadeatthebehestofpoliticians.

TheFifthPayCommissionmadeseveralrecommendationsaboutevolvingdetailed,clear,andtransparenttransferpolicies.First,the

Commissionrecommendedthatdetailedguidelinesshouldbeformulatedandpublicisedbyeachdepartmentaspartofacomprehensive

transferpolicy,sothatarbitrarinessintransfersiseliminatedaltogether,andtransfersareeffectedinastransparentamanneraspossible.

Second,inordertoensureadministrativecontinuityandstabilitytoincumbents,frequenttransfersshouldbediscouraged,andaminimum

tenureforeachpostingofofficersshouldbepredetermined,anditshouldnormallybethreetofiveyears,exceptincaseswherelongertenures

arejustifiedonfunctionalgrounds,likecontinuedavailabilityofcertainspecializedskills.Inthecaseofsensitiveposts,whereopportunities

existfordevelopingvestedinterests,thetenureshouldbedefinedforashorterperiod,whichmaybetwotothreeyears.

Third,anyprematuretransferbeforethecompletionoftheprescribedtenureshouldbebasedonsoundadministrativegrounds,whichshould

bespeltoutinthetransferorderitself.Thecivilservantshouldbegiventherighttoappealagainstsuchanorderifhefeelsaggrieved,anda

provisionforasummaryproceduretodealwithsuchasituationshouldbemadewithineachdepartment.Incaseofemergency,whensuchan

orderismadeintheexigenciesofpublicinterestandhastobeimplementedatonce,representationagainstthetransferordershouldbedealt

withbyanauthoritysuperiortotheofficerorderingthetransferafterpersonaldiscussion,ifpossible,onthesameday.

Fourth,theinstrumentoftransfershouldnotbeallowedtobemisusedeitherbybureaucratsthemselvesorbypoliticiansinpower.Itshould

notbeusedasameansofpunishmentbycircumventingtheprocedurelaiddownfordisciplinaryproceedings.

Theissuewasraisedbymanypersonsineverypublichearingandpressconferenceheld

bytheCommission.Amongstthemanyle⋿ﵦers/commentsreceivedbytheCommissiononthisma⋿ﵦer,isadetailedonewri⋿ﵦenbyLokayuktaof

Karnataka.Hesays:Overtheyears,myexperienceasaLawyer,JudgeandnowasLokayuktahasmademefeelthatthepolicyofthe

Governmentinregardtotransferofitsofficersrequiresseriousre‑consideration.IhadseveraloccasionstomeetvariousofficersbothofState

andCentralGovernmentandinthecourseofmydiscussionwiththem,Ifoundthereislotofdiscontentmentamongsttheminregardtothe

transferpoliciesoftheirrespectiveGovernments.

Thecommoncomplaintseemstobethatthereisnoproperpolicyatallandtransfersareeffectedatthewhimsandfanciesofthedecision

makingauthoritywhichismostlyinfluencedbythepressurefromthepoliticians’varioushues.Suchtransfersarelikelytohaveserious

adverseeffectontheefficiencyoftheGovernmentitself.Evenotherwise,tohaveanindependenta⋿ﵦitudeandpeaceofmind,aGovernment

servantmusthavesomeassuredtenureinanyposttowhichheispostedbeforeheistransferred.Transfersbasedontherecommendationsof

personswhoarenotconnectedwiththeGovernmentinanyway,whichincludeselectedrepresentatives,wouldcertainlyleadtocorruption

andunduefavoursbeingshowninfavourofsuchbeneficiaries.

Atthesametime,transfersthoughshownforadministrativereasons,quietoftenseemtobetheoutcomeofsomeone’spersonalgrievance,

amountingtopunishment.SuchoccasionswillcertainlyhaveadverseeffectontheperformanceoftheGovernment.Thereisatalkamongstthe

publicthattransferstocertainpowerfulpostsarebeingmadeforcollateralconsiderationswhichinvolvescorruption.ItisinthisbackgroundI

thinkitappropriatetowritetoyou,requestingtheAdministrativeReformsCommission,tomakesuitablerecommendationsinregardtothe

transferpolicies,bothintheCentralandattheStateGovernmentlevels.

OnesuggestionIcouldmakeinthisregard,whichmayattheoutsetmayseemtoberatherrigid,istoleavethetransfertobureaucracyitself

withouttherebeinganyinterferencewhatsoeverbytheMinistry.Inmyopinion,insofarasthestatewidetransferisconcerned,thesame

shouldbedoneontherecommendationsofaCommi⋿ﵦeeconsistingoftheChiefSecretaryoftheState,nextsenior‑mostSecretaryandthe

SecretaryoftheDepartmentinwhichthetransferissoughlttobeeffected.IfthisCommi⋿ﵦeeisdirectedtoperfomitsfuncitonstransparently,it

willbeopentotheMinistrytooverseethecomplaintsontheactionsoftheCommi⋿ﵦeeandremedialactionscouldbetaken.Thiswould

certainlytakeawaythepublicperceptionthattransfersarebeingdoneonpoliticalorcollateralconsiderations.Similarly,inregardtotransfer

ofofficersatDivisionalandDistrictlevels,thesameshouldbeeffectedthroughaCommi⋿ﵦeeheadedbytheseniormostofficerofthatDivision

ortheDistrict,andnextseniorofficerofthedepartmentinwhichthetransferissoughttobeeffected.Lastlyandmostimportantly,thereshould

beminimumofthreeyears’fixeddurationfortheofficers’stayinaparticularpost,whichshouldnotbenormallyreducedorenlargedexcept

forgoodreasonstoberecordedinwriting.

TheNationalCommissiontoReviewtheWorkingoftheConstitutionhasalsocommentedonthis.TheCommissionsaid:

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RELATIONSHIPBETWEENTHEPOLITICALEXECUTIVEANDTHEPERMANENTCIVILSERVICE|INFOLINE

Thequestionsofpersonnelpolicyincludingplacements,promotions,transfersandfast‑tractadvancementsonthebasisofforward‑looking

careermanagementpoliciesandtechniquesshould

bemanagedbyautonomousPersonnelBoardsforassistingthehighlevelpoliticalauthoritiesinmakingkeydecisions.SuchCivilService Boardsshouldbeconstitutedunderstatutoryprovisions.TheyshouldbeexpectedtofunctionliketheUPSC.Thesanctityofparliamentary

legislationunderarticle309isneededtocounteractthepubliclyknowntrendsoftheplayofunhealthyanddestabilizinginfluencesinthe

managementofpublicservicesingeneralandhighercivilservicesinparticular.

TheDraftPublicServicesBill,2006mootstheideaofconstitutingaCentralPublicServicesAuthorityforgoodgovernance.IntermsofArticle

19(e)oftheBill,theAuthorityhasbeenchargedwiththeresponsibilityofensuringthat:“thetransfersandpostingsofpublicservantsare

undertakeninafairandobjectivemannerandthetenureofthepublicservantinapostisappropriatelydeterminedandismaintained

consistentwiththeneedtomaintaincontinuity,andtherequiremetsofgoodgovernance”.However,therecommendationsoftheAuthorityin

thesema⋿ﵦerscannotbemandatory,butonlyadvisory.

AnotherlikelyareaofconflictbetweentheMinisterandtheofficersistheinfluenceexercisedbytheMinisterintheday‑to‑dayfunctioningof subordinateofficers.Efficientrunningofactivitiesofaministryordepartmentrequiresdelegationofpowersandfunctionstothevariouslevels ofbureaucracy.Oncethisdelegationhasbeendone,thebureaucracyshouldbeallowedtodischargeitsduties,ofcourseasperthedelegated authority.IthasoftenbeenobservedthatMinistersissueinstructions,formalorinformal,toinfluencethedecisionsofthesubordinate bureaucracy.Ithasalsobeenobservedthatofficers,insteadoftakingdecisionsontheirown,lookuptotheMinistersforinformalinstructions. Severalstateshavecreatedaninstitutionof‘DistrictIn‑chargeMinister’toreviewthedevelopmentactivitiesinthedistrict.Therehavebeen instanceswhenDistrictMinistershaveexceededtheirbriefandissuedinstructionsonissueswhichcometotallywithintheofficer’sdomain. Thesepracticesareunhealthyastheycanhaveapropensitytocheckanofficer’sinitiativeandimpingeontheauthoritydelegatedtohim.It couldleadtodecisionswhicharenotinpublicinterestandalsodemoralisedaconscientiouscivilservant. Itisnecessarytospelloutthe relationshipbetweenthepoliticalexecutiveandthebureaucracyinacomprehensivemanner.TheCommissionwouldsuggestthedetailsofthe institutionalandlegalframeworkrequiredtobuildahealthyrelationshipbetweenthepoliticalexecutiveandthebureaucracyin itsforthcomingReportonCivilServicesReforms.

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