Secy to head review panels to identify non-performing babus

New Delhi: The secretaries of government departments will head committees to review the performance of staff working under them as part of a move to force compulsory retirement on those staffers who are found to shirk work.

Detailed instructions have been issued for reviewing the performance of officers which cite various Supreme Court observations for guiding the assessment of such cases.

The Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) in government departments, who act as a distant arm of the Central Vigilance Commission, will also be involved in case of a record reflecting adversely on the integrity of the gazetted officers. In case of non-gazetted officers, it is the CVO’s representative who will be involved.

The move is part of instructions from Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha that emphasise the need for rotation of officers working in sensitive and non-sensitive posts and call for a review of non-performing officers to ensure probity among government servants.

For every review, the entire service record should be considered, said an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to all central government secretaries.

DoPT said that the expression ‘service record’ will take in all relevant records and, hence, the review should not be confined to the consideration of the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) or Annual Performance Appraisal Report (APAR) dossier.

The personal file of an officer may contain valuable material. Similarly, the work and performance of an officer could also be assessed by looking into files dealt with by him or going over any papers or reports prepared and submitted by him, DoPT said.

“It would be useful if the ministry or department puts together all the data available about the officers and prepares a comprehensive brief for consideration by the review committee. Even uncommunicated remarks in the ACRs or APARs may be taken into consideration,” the order said.

In case of those officers who have been promoted in the last five years, the previous entries in the ACRs may be taken into account if the promotion was on the basis of seniority- cum-fitness and not on the basis of merit, it said.

Under Fundamental Rule 56(J), the government has the “absolute right” to retire, if necessary in the public interest, any Group A and B employee who joined service before the age of 35 and has crossed the age of 50.

Also, a Group C government servant, who has crossed the age of 55 can be retired prematurely under the rules.

It has been decided by DoPT that the secretaries of the cadre-controlling authorities, like Personnel Ministry for IAS and Home Ministry for IPS officers, will set up review panels comprising two members at the appropriate level.

In case of Group A officers appointed by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC), the review panel may be headed by the secretary of the ministry concerned or department as cadre -controlling authority.

In respect of non-ACC appointees, where there are boards viz. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), Railway Board, Postal Board, Telecom Commission, etc., the review committee may be headed by the chairman of such board, DoPT said.

In case of Group B Gazetted and non-gazetted officers, Additional Secretary or Joint Secretary-level officer will head the committees.

“However, in case the appointing authority is lower in rank than a Joint Secretary, then an officer of the level of Director or Deputy Secretary will be the head (of the review panel),” the order added.

In case of non-gazetted employees in cadres other than the centralised ones, the head of department or head of the organisation shall decide the composition of the review committee, it said.

“The secretary of the ministry or department is also empowered to constitute internal committees to assist the review committees in reviewing the cases. These committees will ensure that the service record of the employees being reviewed, along with a summary bringing out all relevant information, is submitted to the cadre authorities at least three months before the due date of review,” the order said.

Instructions on the composition of the representation committees will be communicated separately, DoPT said.

“Ordinarily, the order of compulsory retirement is not to be treated as a punishment,” the DOPT, meanwhile, added, citing an apex court observation.