IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.82 OF 2011
T.S.R. Subramanian & Ors.
Union of India & Ors.
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.234 OF 2011
30. We notice, at present the civil servants are not having stability of tenure, particularly in the State Governments where transfers and postings are made frequently, at the whims and fancies of the executive head for political and other considerations and not in public interest. The necessity of minimum tenure has been endorsed and implemented by the Union Government. In fact, we notice, almost 13 States have accepted the necessity of a minimum tenure for civil servants. Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable the civil servants to achieve their professional targets, but also help them to function as effective instruments of public policy. Repeated shuffling/transfer of the officers is deleterious to good governance. Minimum assured service tenure ensures efficient service delivery and also increased efficiency. They can also prioritize various social and economic measures intended to implement for the poor and marginalized sections of the society.
31. We, therefore, direct the Union State Governments and Union Territories to issue appropriate directions to secure providing of minimum tenure of service to various civil servants, within a period of three months.
32. We have extensively referred to the recommendations of the Hota Committee, 2004 and Santhanam Committee Report and those reports have highlighted the necessity of recording instructions and directions by public servants. We notice that much of the deterioration of the standards of probity and accountability with the civil servants is due to the political influence or persons purporting to represent those who are in authority. Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption, 1962 has recommended that there should be a system of keeping some sort of records in such situations. Rule 3(3)(iii) of the All India Service Rules specifically requires that all orders from superior officers shall ordinarily be in writing. Where in exceptional circumstances, action has to be taken on the basis of oral directions, it is mandatory for the officer superior to confirm the same in writing. The civil servant, in turn, who has received such information, is required to seek confirmation of the directions in writing as early as possible and it is the duty of the officer superior to confirm the direction in writing.
33. We are of the view that the civil servants cannot function on the basis of verbal or oral instructions, orders, suggestions, proposals, etc. and they must also be protected against wrongful and arbitrary pressure exerted by the administrative superiors, political executive, business and other vested interests. Further, civil servants shall also not have any vested interests. Resultantly, there must be some records to demonstrate how the civil servant has acted, if the decision is not his, but if he is acting on the oral directions, instructions, he should record such directions in the file. If the civil servant is acting on oral directions or dictation of anybody, he will be taking a risk, because he cannot later take up the stand, the decision was in fact not his own.Recording of instructions, directions is, therefore, necessary for fixing responsibility and ensure accountability in the functioning of civil servants and to uphold institutional integrity.