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Compulsory Retirement – Cracking down on CG Employees – While there was always a rule to compulsorily retire bureaucrats, the rule applies to only those who are at least 50 years old.
CG employees may get 3-4 times the salaries of their private sector counterparts, especially at the lower-to-medium levels, but the security of tenure that they enjoyed is now under threat because of the compulsory retirement threat.
A study for the 7th Pay Commission found a fresh government nurse earned 3.4 times her private sector counterpart, a teacher 2.7 times and a driver 2.3 times. While there was always a rule to compulsorily retire bureaucrats, the rule applies to only those who are at least 50 years old – on grounds of either corruption or inefficiency, this has rarely been used.
According to The Economic Times that reported the use of an obscure Rule 56(j) to sack 15 customs and central excise officials —including two at the level of commissioners—this was last invoked three decades ago. Indeed, a few months before it demitted office in 2014, the UPA government reiterated the rule, but it did precious little about it. The NDA reissued the order last September, but made its intentions clear since, while doing so, the order excerpted various Supreme Court judgments on this – in other words, CG employees were warned that the highest court in the land had ruled in favour of this in the past.
In the case of State of Gujarat vs Umedbhai M Patel, the SC had ruled that “whenever the services of a public servant are no longer useful to the general administration, the officer can be compulsorily retired for the sake of public interest”. It then went on to say, according to the DoPT circular, “For better administration, it is necessary to chop off dead wood, but the order of compulsory retirement can be passed after having due regard to the entire service record of the officer.”
Since the exercise is believed to have been kicked off at the instance of the Prime Minister’s Office, chances are that several more employees may be shown the door.
However, there are enough checks since there will be review panels before the compulsory retirement and then there is the process of appeal to the tribunal as well as to the courts.