Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to the Prime Minister on Sunday opposing proposed changes to the Indian Administrative Service (Framework) deputies rules.
The two leaders joined the list of chief ministers of opposition-led states who expressed concern that the amendments clashed with the country’s federal governance structure. In the past week, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh, Hemant Soren of Jharkhand and Ashok Gehlot of Rajasthan have written to the Prime Minister on the matter.
The row began after the Center on January 12 wrote to state governments proposing amendments to Rule 6 (Deputy of Executives) of the Indian Administrative Service (Executive) Rules, 1954, according to The Hindu.
If approved, the four proposed amendments would allow the Center to place officers on central delegations over the objections of state governments. In the event of a delay in the central delegation of an officer of the State framework, this one “will be relieved of the framework” by the order of the Center, in accordance with the proposed amendments.
The Center will also decide on the number of officers to be placed in central deputation and will have the final say in the event of a dispute with the States.
In his letter to Modi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin said the proposed changes “strike at the very root” of the country’s “federal policy and state autonomy”.
Stalin pointed out that other states also raised objections to this. He expressed fears that the move “would lead to a concentration of power in the union government”. He added that officers would spend their careers “in perpetual fear of being penalized” by the central government.
Pinarayi Vijayan also expressed similar fears, saying existing deputies’ rules were already loaded in favor of the Center and that greater rigor would “weaken the very root of cooperative federalism”, PTI reported.
“The proposed changes in the Rules of Deputation of all Indian Services will certainly induce a psychosis of fear and an attitude of hesitation among officers of all Indian Services to implement the policies of a state government, which are formed by parties politically opposed by the ruling Center party,” Vijayan said in his letter.
Kerala’s Chief Minister stressed the need for a “vibrant democratic and federal system”, so that the states and the Center can be governed by political parties with different ideologies and opinions.