Compulsory retirement may no longer be imposed as a penalty on erring bureaucrats and corrupt officials, if a proposal by the government comes through.
The ministry for personnel, public grievances and training has proposed dropping compulsory retirement altogether from the conduct rules for central government officials saying it is neither punitive nor has a deterrent effect.
The ministry made the proposal last week to a three-member panel headed by former Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) chairman P.C. Hota and also comprising former secretary (Personnel) Arvind Varma and former Central Vigilance Commission member P. Shankar.
‘There is no need for retaining compulsory retirement as a form of penalty as the government servant who is made to retire compulsorily as a major punishment gets all his retirement benefits,’ said the note on the ministry’s proposal.
‘It has very little or no deterrent effect on the charged officer and it also does not serve the original purpose of awarding punishment for a major misconduct,’ the note reasoned.
‘It is as if the government is sending home a disgraced officer almost in an honourable way even while awarding him a major punishment,’ said the note.
‘This lets government servants feel a sense of comfort and security even while indulging in wrongdoing as they know that even if they are compulsorily retired, they would get full pensionary benefits,’ the note pointed out.
‘It is, therefore, felt that the compulsory retirement should be deleted from the conduct rules for the central government,’ the note said.
In its proposal, the ministry also pointed out a pertinent legal reason for dropping compulsory retirement from the list of penalties.
It said the conduct and disciplinary rules for government officials require the UPSC’s approval for awarding any major penalty to a government servant, leading to wastage of too much of time.
The ministry said even the constitution does not require a UPSC nod to retire a person compulsorily.
‘Article 311 of the constitution speaks about the need of for consultation with the UPSC only in the case of demotion, removal and dismissal of civil servants,’ the note pointed out.
The note said the provision of compulsory retirement is effective in dealing with inefficient officials and the conduct rule separately provides for compulsory retirement of inefficient government officials with pensionary benefits and without attaching a tag of dishonour.