IR gets rid of “deadwood” from Service – revives rarely-used Establishment Rules to compulsorily retire “non-performers”

Railways ask non-performing employees to retire. The railways’ move is part of the government’s drive to enforce accountability.

NEW DELHI: The Railway Ministry has put the massive railway bureaucracy on tenterhooks after invoking a rarely-used rule in its Establishment Code to compulsorily retire a senior official ‘in public interest’ on Wednesday. The official, senior divisional electrical engineer DK Hazra of Adra division in South Eastern Railway (SER), was retired by an order of the President of India under Rule 1802 (a) of the Indian Railway Establishment Code Volume 2.

This rule states that ‘notwithstanding anything contained in this rule, the appointing authority shall, if it is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so, have the absolute right to retire any government servant by giving him notice of not less than three months in writing or three months’ pay and allowances in lieu of such notice’.

According to railway officials, Hazra was given Rs 2,96,289 rupees as three months’ pay. Hazra had completed 55 years of age on March 10, 2017, the threshold age for such action under rule 1802 (a).

Railway officials told that it was possibly the first time an officer as senior as Hazra, a director-level officer in the railway hierarchy, has been compulsorily retired in such a way. Queries sent to the Railway Ministry and SER’s personnel department on the reasons for Hazra’s retirement went unanswered.

“It surely sets the cat among the pigeons as far as the railway hierarchy is concerned. It is a huge organisation and retiring officials in such a manner will surely jolt the bureaucracy into action. The railways in the past decade has become a slow-moving, top-heavy organisation and such a step could reinvigorate it,” said a top-ranking railway official.

Officials said there could be more such compulsory retirements in the months to come. “It has already been done in two-three cases in railways where concerned employees found to be non-performer were asked to go as they were considered to be deadwood in the rail administration,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Recently, two IPS officers were compulsorily retired on the basis of performance. The official said more such employees are likely to be asked to go as the review process is on.

The railways’ move is part of the government’s drive to enforce accountability in the administration and show the doors to those who were found to be wanting. Besides performance, lack of indiscipline and integrity are also other factors taken into account for deciding the issue. There are also a few cases involving conviction in various courts who will be asked to go in railways.