The ‘forced retirement’ is the largest such exercise in the recent history of the external spy agency.
Around 70 plus officers working in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), ranging from Joint Secretaries (JS) to Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP), inspectors and below, have been identified for compulsory retirement owing to “non-performance” and “doubtful integrity”.
Sources said that the “forced retirement” or cleansing of the agency, as some officials have put it, is being done in phases and this is the largest such exercise in the recent history of the external spy agency.
When Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister from 1977-1979, he had ordered about one-third reduction in the working staff of the RAW as he thought that the agency had helped his predecessor Indira Gandhi during the Emergency.
Incidentally, many of the officers sacked by the agency had excellent ACRs (Annual Confidential Reports). This has attracted questions and litigations on the way ACRs are prepared.
Sources said that of the 70 odd employees, four are of joint secretary level, while the rest are of the level of DSP or other subordinate ranks. Around 10 have already been removed, including four JS level officers. Two of them have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), challenging their premature dismissal from service, stating that the reason attributed to their sacking contradicts the “very good” or “excellent” ratings in their Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs).
These staffers, sources said, have been removed from service by the Cabinet Secretariat by invoking Fundamental Rule 56(j) (FR 56j) under which the government has the power to retire staffers in public interest after either they turn 50 or have served for 30 years. The government can give either a three-months’ notice or three months’ salary before retiring them.
Official sources said that well laid down procedures are being followed to “retire” the staffers which calls for reviewing the working of the staffer six months before they attain the age of 50 years or complete 30 years of service. “A committee is constituted to which all such cases are referred for recommendation as to whether the officer concerned should be retained in service or retired from service in the public interest. Those whose integrity is in question, or who have been found to be ineffective, are retired under this rule. Ordinarily, no one is retired on ground of ineffectiveness, if he or she is slated to be retired on superannuation within a period of one year from the date of consideration of his case. Also, no employee is ordinarily retired on grounds of ineffectiveness if his service during the preceding five years has been found satisfactory,” an official explained.