IAS officer’s suspension triggers debate

New Delhi: The controversial suspension of young Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal has triggered a major national debate on the "arbitrary and whimsical ways" of an incumbent government and how a system should be in place to restore dignity to the civil service that was once known as the 'steel frame' of governance.
 
Eminent, retired and serving bureaucrats have come in full support of the officer, suspended allegedly for demolishing the wall of a local under-construction mosque during Ramzan. 28-year-old Nagpal, a 2010-batch IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was suspended on July 27.
 
Critics of the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh have said the reason for the officer's suspension was not the mosque wall but her tough line against the rampant sand quarrying on the Yamuna river bank.
 
They called for reforms of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to ensure that upright officers, who do not kowtow to the politicians in power, are not harassed by way of frequent transfers and unreasonable actions including suspensions.
 
Former CAG Vinod Rai, who himself recently demitted office after a considerable amount of criticism from the ruling establishment for his reports on various scams, supported Nagpal.
 
"Suspension of an officer is a serious issue. It is done when there are grave charges against him or her. She has been denied natural justice as she was not given an opportunity to present her case before being suspended," Rai told PTI.
 
He said Nagpal's seniors should have stood by her. "Chief Secretary and Secretary (of the department concerned) should have not succumbed (to any kind of pressure)," said Rai, a former IAS officer who demitted as the chief of country's top auditing body.