It’s not often one hears of babus defying political pressure while discharging their duties. However, of late, babus in Andhra Pradesh have been making news for standing up to their political masters. Readers may recall an earlier instance recorded in this column when some irate State Ministers even complained to Chief Minister Kiran Reddy about babus refusing to obey their diktats. But what really surprised observers are the recent transfers of some 50 deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) ordered by the State police chief V. Dinesh Reddy.
Though as the Director General of Police Reddy can transfer any police official in the State, observers noted that this present round of transfers was conducted without yielding to pressure from politicians. Apparently, recommendations from some Ministers, including Reddy’s boss Home Minister Sabita Reddy, were simply ignored! Now if only this trend catches on elsewhere too!
Apparently the tussle between Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and the Home Ministry over the transfer of IAS officials is a thing of the past. Ms Dikshit had taken umbrage at the Centre ordering the transfers of IAS officials who she considered were crucial to her scheme of things. But now, as elections approach, the Chief Minister is getting her way.
For starters, two senior IAS officers of the 1984 batch, R.K. Verma and Jalaj Srivastava, have been transferred back to Delhi and will be handling key departments in Ms Dikshit’s Government. Their transfer comes close on the heels of three IAS officials Rajesh Somal, Dilraj Kaur and Basant Kumar who too have joined Team Dikshit.
Sources say that the Chief Minister has also approached the Home Ministry to retain some babus who hold senior positions in her administration. Most likely, her request will be granted.
Making a point
An ongoing case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court could have eventual ramifications across the nation. An IAS officer V.K. Janjua, who was booked by the Vigilance Bureau on charges of corruption three years ago, has challenged the Punjab Government’s grant of sanction to prosecute him. He has argued that the State Government was not empowered to grant sanction to prosecute an IAS officer, since this power lies solely with the Central Government. He has further accused his political masters of confusing the power to transfer with the power to dismiss. Embarrassingly for the Badal sarkar, the Centre has also submitted a reply agreeing with the babu. The High Court’s decision in the matter, babu watchers say, could impact similar cases in other States. Though the next hearing in the matter is only in October, Janjua’s argument has already created considerable stir in babu circles on what the court may have to say. State Governments have reason to watch this carefully.