In the wake of an FIR against former Coal Secretary P C Parakh in Coalgate scam, Andhra Pradesh IAS Officers' Association has decided to seek the President's intervention and ensure adequate safeguards for serving and retired civil servants to perform their legitimate duties.
The Association, which held an extraordinary meeting of its general body here late last night, also requested the Centre to consider appropriate statutory provisions to prevent abuse of authority by investigating agencies against civil servants.
The meeting was held in the wake of CBI's FIR against Parakh, an AP cadre IAS officer. The Association secretary J Raymond Peter released the resolutions of the meeting today. The Association recommended certain "specific actions" like amendments to Section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act so as to extend the requirement of prior sanction in respect of retired officers for any cognisance to be taken by a court; amendment to Section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code to clarify the scope of this section extends to accusations of criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust as well.
"This is required in view of the recent tendency by CBI to bypass the prior sanction requirement and charge officers by invoking IPC sections dealing with criminal conspiracy (section 120-B) and criminal breach of trust (section 409)," Peter said.
The Association also wanted appropriate provisions in the proposed Civil Services Performance Standard and Accountability Bill to protect legitimate decisions taken by civil servants. The Association said it wanted the investigating agencies to strictly adhere to guidelines issued by Central Vigilance Commission and Department of Personnel and Training, which were also reiterated by Supreme Court in a recent case.
It recommended that the composition of CBI teams, investigating allegations of criminality in policy-level decisions, be expanded to include persons who have experience at appropriate level and have knowledge of policy formulation and business rules in government.
While pledging its "unstinting support" to Parakh, the Association expressed "deep anguish' over the manner in which he has been implicated in a criminal case, leaving aside the political executive(s) concerned.
"Targeting of senior civil servants under the lens of criminal intent strikes at the root of good governance, especially when officers with impeccable track record are implicated in criminal cases excluding the counterpart political executive. This will only lead to serious policy and decision-making paralysis at all levels in the government," the Association said.