The overnight transfer of Mr Basant Rath an IPS officer who was IG traffic Kashmir zone caught everyone unawares. The decision came surprisingly after an opinion and reply to tweet of novice Mayor of Sgr Mr Junaid Mato. Literally the case of traffic mismanagement was highlighted by said Mayor. He ,however shower whole weight on Mr Basant Rath as if Inspector General wasn’t loyal to his duty. The executive and legislative organs of government are altogether separate with relative separation of powers and jurisdiction. The IPS officer is selected through an appropriate series of hierarchical recruitment test through UPSC board. It’s selection is followed by special training module for all the officers in established academies. Herein they are equipped with public administration and management skills to handle the situations after appointment. There are a series of laws especially the article 312 which govern ALL INDIA SERVICE as is called in constitutional language. The rank , promotion, transfer , cadre , discipline et al are governed by well framed laws. However the absolute discretion of cabinet in the transfer of these officers with Ministry of personnel in lower rung has came to table of criticism at some instances. The transfer Mr Basant Rath is seen through similar prism in the Kashmir. Is it really so?
The rules framed to govern the specific technical issues related with all India service are oft repeatedly circulated in legal fraternity. However in case of Mr Basant Rath the immediate action taken from corridors of central government when likely intervened by novice Mayor of Srinagar have become thorny issue these days. There are two possible narratives drawn from such hurriedly act of central government. Either the politics became central and the duty of an honest officer secondary or the routine case using the discretionary power as tool to change equations is obvious . Whatever the case may be, for that matter the transfer was seen through former prism because of certain unique qualities the officer possessed. He adopted the unique way of strategy to counter illegal problems associated with traffic management of Kashmir region. He took stern actions barring their position of strength in politics or executive. He always used to adopt equality before law as stick at hand. He dared to take the security forces, politicians , criminals et all to task. In nook and cranny of Kashmir region he the officer was admired for his simplicity and outreach. He completely revolutionised traffic management and almost visited every sub region of Kashmir to improve the status of traffic. This style of administration won him the heart and soul of general public. The simplicity and sagacity with reach for general public barring security instability make him infamous. This uproar in aftermath of sudden transfer is but the repercussion of absolute political bickering behind walls.
On the second dimension the outrage for immediate transfer after initial spat of war of words on social media platform ( Twitter) was held guilty in court of public. The tweet for mismanagement in traffic was a daring attack to intellect and management of Mr Basant Rath. He quickly reacted and reminded person in question to focus on one’s own duties obligatory to him. The trust reposed by the common public on the post of Mayor was soon forgotten to venture into field meant for the operation of executive. This series and counter series of tweets initiated the cycle of action after action and intervention after intervention which ultimately culminated at overnight transfer of admirer in the shape of Mr Basant Rath. Such was the level of tragedy befallen on the kashmiri people that social media was flooded with consolation messages to shower the magnitude of support for this Daring officer. The speed and tact of intervention bring to fore the uneasiness of officers for changing political equations. The transfer is legally exclusionary jurisdiction of central cabinet. This paves way for politics and political intervention. The way of reacting to situation without considering adequate merit of the case is embarrassing. The horrific style of mere political bickering is a Violation of legal code of conduct.
The law is as good or as bad as its implementation is oft repeated legal code of conduct. The policy of central government to transfer the executive officers on pretext of political equations is not a good sign. Therefore the following suggestion can be adopted here after. The establishment of a board is overlooking the merit of transfers of ALL INDIA SERVICE. This board shall consist of members of former civil servants and some judicial luminaries. This board shall be granted required autonomy to make it immune from any political interference. On the other hand the space provision for ALL INDIA SERVICE officers to adopt their own ways within legal precincts shall be permitted. This methodology would provide them absolute immunity to solve the problems of society at hand. Moreover the public rating measurement for quality level improvement shall be integrative authority of said board. This step would induce security to the officer cadre which may help in the society led conflict resolution. Unless and until later we make the modification in the set procedure the political intervention is hard to stave off from such acts. The necessary amendments through parliamentary debate to provide them security and correlate their promotion quota to efficiency and merit on case by case basis need to be adopted and implemented. As is said “ the son’s hindsight is father’s farsight”. The required amendments are awaited for nip and tuck incidences to repeat in future. The sooner we awake the faster the governance will improve which in turn would revolutionise the public delivery of services. These and other such political ethic with near zero take up of executive cases from political angle may evolve responsible and responsive bureaucracy.
Shahid Majeed Mir can be reached at mirshahid363@gmail.