IPS officer’s transfer to IAS post: Khattar prevails, officer transferred despite Home Minister Vij’s objections


The Haryana government on Sunday finally transferred IPS officer Kala Ramchandran as the Principal Secretary of the transport department.

The Indian Express, on September 5, had reported how the IPS officer’s transfer to the transport department had triggered a point of conflict between Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, and Home Minister, Anil Vij, bringing both the leaders at loggerheads. While Khattar was pushing for the officer’s transfer to the post meant for someone from the IAS cadre, the Home Minister did not seem to be on the same page.

While Vij cited All India Services (Cadre) rules, and asked the state government to first seek the mandatory nod from the union government’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), sources disclosed that Khattar was firm that the officer has to be transferred on the IAS cadre post, even as the government may or may not seek approval from the DoPT subsequently for the transfer.

Sources disclosed that while overruling Home Minister, Anil Vij, Khattar directed that the transfer orders of Kala Ramachandran be issued on Sunday. Justifying his decision, the Chief Minister’s office added that there were 12 posts of principal secretaries, out of which only 10 were occupied. “But at the same time there are numerous IAS officers too, who could have been transferred against the cadre post meant for them, rather than picking an IPS officer,” a senior IAS officer told the Indian Express.
The government, however, is of the viewpoint, that such a move is aimed at only “promoting competition and ensuring improvement in delivery of services”.

Though, Vij had refused to relieve the officer till the government gets approval from DoPT, the Chief Minister’s office still went ahead with the transfer, and Haryana’s Chief Secretary, Vijai Vardhan, issued the required orders on Sunday.

Haryana government is already facing flak from the Union government for violating the IAS cadre rules. In several earlier appointments of IPS officers on IAS cadre posts, the state government had not taken the mandatory permission of DoPT, which is a norm in such cases.

The fresh transfer of Ramachandran is likely to further fuel another controversy, with the DoPT having already sought a “detailed report” from the Haryana government on all such non-cadre officers who have been occupying IAS cadre posts in the state.

Currently, in Haryana, there are nine such non-cadre officers belonging to IPS/IFS/IRS, who are posted against the cadre posts meant for IAS officers and in most of the cases, the state government has not sought prior permission for the same from the Central government.

As per the rules, “The cadre post of IAS can be filled up from a non-cadre officer only when there is no suitable cadre officer available” and “if it is proposed to continue that non-cadre post beyond a period of three months, prior approval of the Central government is mandatory”.

The rules also add that “even if the appointment is to be made for a period of less than three months from the non-select list officers, prior approval of the Central government is mandatory”.

Also, “if a non-cadre officer is proposed to be continued on a cadre post for a period exceeding six months, the Central government shall report the full facts to the UPSC”.

Talking about Sunday’s development, a senior officer said, “A non-cadre officer can be appointed on a cadre post only when no suitable cadre officer is available. There is no such certificate by the CS or the Civil Services Board or the CM. There are 28 IAS officers in Apex/HAG scales serving in the state currently and as implied by this order, no cadre officer is found suitable. A cadre post cannot be filled by non-cadre officer beyond 3 months without the approval of the Central government. A non-cadre officer cannot replace another non-cadre officer, and so on ad infinitum… on a cadre post beyond the period of 3 months”.

Sources disclosed that even the Chief Secretary, citing repeated notices issued by DoPT to Haryana government seeking details of all such non-cadre officers posted on the cadre posts, had proposed that the state government take “prior approval” of DoPT, Government of India, before posting the IPS officer as Principal Secretary of transport department.

Sources added that the chief secretary had also proposed that the process of seeking prior approval from DoPT to post the officer against the cadre post meant for IAS officers, should also be expedited.

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