Hours after Chief Secretary of Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay refused to participate in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over cyclone Yaas, the Centre issued orders for his central deputation.
The order, issued by Ministry of Personnel, reads, “The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the placement of the services of Shri Alpan Bandyopadhyay (IAS WB:1987) with the Government of India, as per provisions of rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) rules, 1954 , with immediate effect.”
The order calls for the state government to immediately relieve the chief secretary of his duties in the state. The Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) order asks Bandyopadhyay to report by 10 am on May 31.
Rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) rules, 1954 cited by the DOPT order states: A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the state governments concerned and the central government, be deputed for service under the central government or another state government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the central government or by another state government.
It adds that in case there is a disagreement between the Centre and the state on the issue of deputation of an officer, the Centre’s view will prevail.
“Provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the central government and the state government or state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the central government,” the rules state.
Serving and retired officers told news18 that Centre does have the power to order central deputation for an all-India service officer but added that it is difficult to force an officer against his will to come to Centre.
Former Union Home Secretary G K Pillai told News18, “Ultimately, it all depends on what the officer wants. If he/she doesn’t want to come to the Centre and the state does not relieve him, Centre can not force,” Pillai said.
He added that at the secretary level such a confrontation is rare. “The central government can at best issue a show cause notice. But in this case the Bengal chief secretary can respond that he has retired, is on a three-month extension and therefore does not wish to move from Kolkata to Delhi. Why will you move for three months? Unless the Centre is promising you a two-year tenure as home or cabinet secretary,” he said.
A serving officer in DOPT pointed out that the order to call three IPS officers from Bengal to Centre on deputation is still hanging. “The Centre does have the power under the rules but the implementation is difficult,” he said.
Three IPS officers Bholanath Pandey (then SP, Diamond Harbour called as SP BPRD), Praveen Tripathi (then DIG, Presidency Range, deployed by Centre as DIG – Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)) and Rajeev Mishra (then ADG, South Bengal called as IG ITBP) were ordered to join BRPD, SSB and ITBP, respectively, after they allegedly failed to prevent an attack on BJP president J P Nadda’s convoy.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has refused to release the officers and called it a “blatant misuse of power and an attempt to encroach on state’s jurisdiction.”
The TMC has also lashed out at the Center over the transfer order on chief secretary too. MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray questioned, “Has this ever happened since Independence? Forced central deputation of a Chief Secretary of a State. How much lower will Modi-Shah’s BJP stoop. All because people of Bengal humiliated the duo and chose Mamata Banerjee with an overwhelming mandate.”
Alapan Bandyopadhyay was given a 3 month extension till 31st August. He was due for retirement on May 31st. The extension was proposed by the west bengal government and approved by the union government on 24th of May.