If you are a rich couple and want your child to be disciplined, what would you do when they commit a mistake? Whatever the preventive form of punishment you will meted out to them, it certainly won’t be taking them to another bungalow and showering them with similar facilities. But, Indian Babus do get this kind of treatment. When they are in trouble, they are transferred to different states.
IAS couple transferred
The IAS officer couple who love their dog more than the country have been transferred to different states. Sanjiv Khirwar, Delhi’s Principal Secretary has been transferred to Ladakh, while his wife Rinku Dugga has been sent to Arunachal Pradesh. It is pertinent to note that normally bureaucrat couples are allocated the same state after transfer.
An official from the Ministry of Home Affairs was quoted by Indian Express as saying, “The MHA had sought a report from the Delhi Chief Secretary on the news report regarding the misuse of facilities at Thyagraj Stadium by Sanjeev Khirwar and his wife Rinku Dugga. The Chief Secretary submitted a report later in the evening on the factual position. In the meanwhile, Khirwar has been transferred by MHA to Ladakh and Rinku Dhugga to Arunachal Pradesh. Necessary action will be initiated based on the report,”
Transfer order is absurd
Ever since the reports of the couple hampering the practice of national level athletes started to make rounds, the demand for punishing them had been rampant. Netizens were especially asking for stringent action on husband and wife. Political parties had also come out in opposition to the couple. Manish Tewari, a key member of Congress under which these bureaucrats got unadulterated supreme authority, asked the government to make an example of this officer.
Meanwhile, the fact that the officers are only transferred is not digestible to everyone. Politicians are questioning whether those states and Union territories are so less important that they are being preferred for ‘punishment transfer’? Expert ones of the public intelligentsia are Kiran questioning the absurdity of the move. Posting a copy of transfer order on social media, Kiran Bedi wrote, “IF the incident of dog walk in the stadium by this IAS is found correct, then why being sent to another UT Why not he proceed on leave pending the decision to assess whether he is fit to continue in the service. All India Civil Services are serious positions anywhere.”
IF the incident of dog walk in the stadium by this IAS is found correct, then why being sent to another UT
Why not he proceed on leave pending the decision to assess whether he is fit to continue in the service.
All India Civil Services are serious positions anywhere. pic.twitter.com/FdAYGavzRV
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) May 26, 2022
Nothing is going to change with transfer
While the transfer order does demean the importance of Ladhak and Arunachal in people’s eyes, it is also true that no matter how much hullabaloo is made around it, it is not punishment. Not even in the loosest sense of the word. By all accounts, both these officers are senior bureaucrats, as they are cadre mates of 1994 batch.
They have been fulfilling their respective duties for 28 years. It simply means that they are at the peak of their seniority. Khirwar is the secretary of the environment department with District Magistrates reporting to him, while his wife is a secretary in the Land and Building Department of Delhi government. Combinedly, they have almost all the facilities available to them which is available to someone holding top political office in states.
Transfer is not a punishment
Now, will all these facilities be taken from both after transfer? Does transfer mean that both of these officers will not be given a post in which they supervise control over bureaucratic machinery? Does the transfer mean that both these officers will not get less government facilities as compared to what they were getting in Delhi? The answer to all those questions is NO. Last but not the least, if they want, they will still be able to walk their dog with VIP security in Ladakh and Arunachal, while players would be mute spectators.
Transfer simply means that they will be availing the same facilities in other states. It also means that there is no loss of seniority. The new IAS officers who do not feel any respect for them will be forced to show respect despite the fact that no one in the 1.35 billion strong population has an iota of respect for the couple. Imagine the loss of morale suffered by the bureaucrats below their ranks. In fact, those with a corrupt mind have found one way to get transfer from their existing states.
No matter where you are sent in your capacity as bureaucrat, transfer is not a punitive action. To prevent such incidents in future, these IAS officers should have been either suspended or demoted. A Jail term or even a fixed amount of public service in people’s glare would provide better preventive examples for future officers.