Case Law Details

Case Name : T.S.R. Subramanian & Ors. Vs Union of India & Ors. (Supreme Court of India)
Appeal Number : Writ Petition (Civil) no. 82 of 2011
Date of Judgement/Order : 31/10/2013
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : Supreme Court of India (1007)





T.S.R. Subramanian & Ors.

Union of India & Ors.



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.

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0 responses to “SC asks bureaucrats to not to take oral instructions from netas”

  1. hemen parekh says:

    When will People win ? > BJP leaders are saying, ” On our own , we will win 272+ seats in Lok Sabha ” > AAP says , ” We will win 47+ seats in Delhi ” > Congress says , ” We will form the next government at the center ” > Regional parties are saying , ” Third front will win and come to power ” > Herr Gobbels , propaganda minister of Hitler , said , ” Tell a lie a hundred times and it will get accepted as truth ” > Sundry ” Pre-poll Opinion Surveys ” predict , ” Saffron will lead everywhere but they will fall short of absolute majority NDA – 2 will suffer from the same debilitating disease as with UPA – 2 , viz : Coalition Dharma ” > Voters are saying , ” Stop mud-slinging , name-calling , abusing each other Stop trying to bribe us by offering free rice , tablets , smartphones etc Stop begging us to vote for you For a change , listen to what WE are telling YOU We will vote to power , only that party , which firmly commits itself in Poll Manifesto , following : ‘ Within 100 days of coming to power , we will amend the Representation of Peoples Act , enabling voters of any constituency to RECALL its elected MP / MLA , if they are unhappy with his / her performance , at the end of 6 months of being elected ‘ For a change , We , the People , want to win – and permanently ! Once every month , we want our elected Representative to hold a public meeting in our locality and tell us what he has done for us during the preceeding 30 days – against the TARGETS that we set for him / her ! If MPs / MLAs want to triple their salaries – no problem ! But no more ” Fixed Tenures ” ! * hemen parekh ( 07 Nov 2013 )

  2. MRKGANDHI says:

    This is a welcome judgment; but will the Government’s implement thi direction. No matter which party is ruling. To ensure enforcement that apex court stipulate time limit and if the government either come to apex court with its difficulties in doing so or enforce it, the apex court should tell the government, if any officer refuse to act on oral instruction, it cannot take disciplinary action and if any claims cover of oral instruction, it will not grant it.

    I must congratulate the apex court to save democracy in its recent judgments to check the politicians and it should also uphold the decision of RTI Commission for disclosure of accounts of political partie, at least our down trodden cannot be influenced with various incentives.

  3. VN KULKARNI says:


  4. hemen parekh says:

    Solomon come to Judgement ?

    To millions of harassed bureaucrats , that is how Supreme Court’s order of yesterday might appear

    * WHAT ?

    > Bureaucrats must not function on verbal instructions from superiors and the political executives , as it leads to favoritism and corruption

    > Fixed tenures for bureaucrats and the setting up of a Civil Services Board ( CSB ) , to advise governments on transfers , postings , promotions and disciplinary actions

    * WHY ?

    Supreme Court advanced following reasons :

    # In the present political scenario , the role of civil servants has become complex and onerous

    # Often , they have to take decisions with far reaching consequences in the economic and technological fields

    # Their decisions must be transparent and in public interest. They should be fully accountable to the community they serve

    * HOW ?

    > Each level of bureaucrat must send their ” decisions ” to the lower level , in writing . ( Will emails do ? )

    > If a bureaucrat receives ” verbal ” decision from his superior , he shall make appropriate noting on the file . ( Shall he record that he does not agree with this decision – and why – but is forced to take it under verbal order ? )

    * RESULT ?

    > Decision making process , which has already considerably slowed down over the past one year , will come to a grinding halt , for the simple reasons that , at the time of taking a decision ,

    * there is absence of adequate / impeccable data on which to base decision ( – concerned vested interest parties will ensure that relevant data / facts / figures are never revealed ! )

    * there is no pre-existing and well laid-out ” Policy Framework ” , governing the issue at hand

    * no bureaucrat – or his political boss – will ever want to take a decision , which , successors to follow , will quote as a ” precedent ” and not based on recorded Policy Framework


    > Is there here , some confusion between a ” Wrong ” decision and a ” Dishonest ” decision ? Don’t millions of honest people continue to take decisions , which in hindsight , appear wrong ?

    > Isn’t a ” Dishonest ” decision one which got taken , solely for the benefit of the decision-taker ( or his family / friends etc ) ?

    > Are we trying to replace honest human ” Judgement ” by some rigid , hide-bound rules ? by some computer algorithms ?

    Historian Arnold Toyanbee , once said :

    ” Only two things are certain in life – death and taxes ”

    From now on , in India , it will be – death and delays

    Only time will tell whether this decision of the Supreme Court , was ” Right ” or ” Wrong ” , but we are sure of one thing : this is an ” Honest ” decision

    * hemen parekh ( 01, Nov 2013 )

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