IPS Officers’ ‘Premature’ Promotion: Amid debate over reopening file, Anil Vij wants Home Secy’s comments

With top officials of the Haryana government examining whether to reopen a file pertaining to alleged “premature” promotion of six IPS officers in 2018, state home minister Anil Vij wants additional chief secretary (home) TVSN Prasad to examine the issue.

It has been learnt that an IAS officer in the home department on June 24 had recommended to take opinion of the Advocate General (AG) or Legal Remembrancer (LR) over the issue. It was further learnt that the IAS officer was of the opinion that the directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) are very clear that “benefit given prematurely may be quashed”. However, another senior officer in the department had recommended against reopening of such cases “in order to avoid unnecessary legal complications”. When the matter reached him in August, Vij insisted that he would like to have comments from Prasad.

The matter pertains to the promotion of six IPS officers of 1994-batch from IGP to ADGP rank in 2018. A few months later, an IPS officer sought cancellation of the promotion order alleging gross violation of guidelines issued by the MHA. He alleged that the six IPS officers were promoted to the grade of ADGP with effect August 29, 2018 while their promotions were due with effect from January 1, 2019. According to an official, the MHA guidelines for promotions issued in 2010 clearly mention that “the zone of consideration of officers for promotion to the grade of ADGP would be officers who have put in 25 years of service, depending upon the availability of posts”.

According to officials, the state government examined the matter by referring to the fact that keeping such important posts vacant for a long period was not appropriate and also there were precedents in similar situations.

However, MHA had then pointed out that “as per the promotion guidelines, the 1994-batch officers are not eligible for the promotion to the grade of ADGP in 2018” adding “they are eligible for the promotion…from January 1, 2019”. The MHA had also asked the state government to “clarify the circumstances” under which the officers were promoted. It issued a reminder in 2019 too.

On its part, the junior officials of Haryana home department informed the seniors that five posts in the rank of ADGP were lying vacant impacting works. According to sources, they also said that keeping such important posts vacant for a long period was not appropriate and it was felt necessary to fill up the vacant posts for effective official works including in vigilance and CID wing. The junior officials also said that there were precedents wherein in the similar situations, meetings of departmental promotion committee (DPC) were called before completion of the period of officers’ service mentioned in the guidelines issued by the central government. They said that relying upon the precedent of promotion of an IAS officer of 1995-batch of Haryana cadre in the grade of chief secretary, the 1995-batch IPS officers, who had put in 30 years of service, were promoted in the rank of DGP in 2014 considering the facts that important posts in the rank of DGP were lying vacant.

Finally, the junior officials proposed two options for consideration of the senior officers. In the first option, they suggested reviewing the promotions keeping in view the guidelines of the central government which has prescribed 25 years of service for promotion of IPS officers to the rank of ADGP. They also said that these six officers may be allowed pay matrix level-15 with effect January 1, 2019 in order to bring the promotions in accordance with the guidelines issued by the MHA.

In the second option, they suggested against re-opening of such cases adding that it would invite unnecessary legal complications. They added that a similar benefit was granted to the officers of IAS cadre and IPS officers of 1984-batch in 2014. They also suggested to explain the circumstances to the MHA in which the 1994-batch IPS officers were promoted in 2018 with further assurance that the guidelines of the central government shall be strictly followed in future.

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