It was a letter from UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to Prime Minister Manomohan Singh on the suspension of Noida SDM Durga Nagpal that apparently prompted the government to consider changes in All India Service rules to bring in more safeguards for IAS, IPS and other officers.
In an RTI reply provided to Lucknow-based activist Sanjay Sharma, the Prime Minister's Office has said, "In the backdrop of the letter written by Smt Sonia Gandhi, the DOPT is in the process of affecting amendments to AIS (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969 which would subsequently need to be placed before the Cabinet for consideration/approval."
The PMO refused to give further details on the issue saying, "Since the issue pertains to the Cabinet, it is exempted under Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act." The department of personnel and training (DoPT) — which acts as nodal body for administrative matters related to Indian Administrative Service (IAS)-—is revisiting rules that outlines procedure for disciplinary action against an officer of the service.
The move comes in the backdrop of suspension of Nagpal, a 2010 batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, who had taken on sand mining mafia active in Gautam Budh Nagar district of the state.
The 28-year-old officer was suspended ostensibly for ordering demolition of a wall of an under-construction mosque without following the due process.
Following the suspension, Gandhi, who is also National Advisory Council Chairperson, had written to the prime minister seeking adequate safeguards for officers.
"We must ensure that the officer is not unfairly treated. At the same time, this particular instance has highlighted the need to assess whether there are adequate safeguards in place to protect executive functionaries working beyond the average call of duty to uphold rule of law," Gandhi had written on August 2.