PMO seeks list of IAS officers on long leave

New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sought a list of IAS officers who have been on leave for years.

Nripendra Misra Principal Secretary PMO
Nripendra Misra Principal Secretary PMO
There are several IAS officers who went on study leave and their whereabouts are not known. Many of them even went abroad. Now the PMO is said to be getting a list of such officers to find out where they are.

“The Prime Minister’s Office has taken the matter up and asked for an updated list of such IAS officers who have been on unauthorised leave for years, along with their whereabouts,” said an official at the department of personnel and training (DoPT).

All the states have been asked to provide the updated lists. Sources said the subject cropped up during a meeting here last month that was attended by principal secretaries from all the states.

“We were both shocked and amused to find that a dozen IAS officers have been on unauthorised leave for years…. In some cases, their whereabouts are unknown to their state cadres,” another personnel department official said.

“The problem is compounded because neither the Centre nor the states have been strict on the matter. For instance, an IAS officer from the Uttar Pradesh cadre returned after nine years but was allowed to resume service and got a plum posting,” the source said. “It’s all about having the right political connections.”

Ironically, an IAS officer’s offence of disappearing without notice can itself become a shield against punishment – because it becomes hard to trace him and seek an explanation.

Rule 7(2) of the All India Services (Leave) Rules of 1955 says: “A member of the service shall be deemed to have resigned from the service if he/she is absent without authorisation for a period exceeding one year from the date of expiry of sanctioned leave or permission; or is absent from duty for a continuous period exceeding five years even if the period of unauthorised absence is less than a year; or continues in foreign service (assignment) beyond the period approved.”

It, however, adds: “A reasonable opportunity to explain the reason for such absence or continuation of foreign service shall be given to the member of the service before the provisions of this sub-rule are invoked.”

Before taking any action, therefore, the Union personnel department asks the state government to send notices and reminders to such a “missing” officer.

“But the problem is that the officer has shifted abroad with his family. So the letters and reminders – sent to his old address – don’t reach him. That delays the process,” the source said.

IAS officers have been “missing” from the country for years and are believed to be surreptitiously working with private organisations abroad for more lucrative pay packets.

Each of them had gone abroad on study leave or official deputation, which generally lasts about eight months to a year. They never returned, apparently using the international contacts gained during the assignments to bag jobs, states and central government sources said.

inputs with Agencies