Monday, June 23, 2008

"IPS" : Jobs without salary

Amitabh Srivastava
June 23, 2008


A A ARichard Lakra moves in a white ambassador car—the curvaceous clone of the 1948 Morris Oxford, complete with siren, which has symbolised officialdom in India for six decades—with a yellow beacon flashing atop.

Lakra takes the back seat; a policeman rides machinegun in the front. The vehicle stops. A bevy of bodyguards and other uniformed flunkeys hop to attention. He is led to an air-conditioned chamber. There, he receives a stream of poor people, besides junior policemen. An orderly regulates the flow. Lakra listens, asks questions and, in red ink, scrawls on the petitions his response.

Outwardly, Lakra— the city superintendent of police at Ranchi— appears all powerful. But, he too has a secret sorrow of life. He works without a salary. Rather, he has to work sans a pay cheque. The office of the Accountant General, a state unit of the Comptroller and Auditor General, has withheld his salary. This was done 13 months back. And since then, the status quo remains.

Lakra is not the only police officer in Jharkhand in this situation. As many as 11 (there are 24 districts in Jharkhand) superintendents of police in Jharkhand, including Lakra are faced with similar orders—job without salary.

According to Section 9 of the Indian Police Service Rules, the post of SP is a cadre post. The rules state that a cadre post cannot be filled by a person who is not a cadre officer. Since Lakra is not the cadre officer, he will not have any money.

Simply put, being not a cadre officer means someone who was yet to be awarded IPS rank. The AG had pointed out that salary authorisation slips of 11 SPs have been withheld because these non-IPS officers are posted on the cadre posts of IPS officers in "violation" of Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954.

The AG is not ready to release their salary unless the state government regularises posting of officers as per the IPS Cadre Rules.

Last year on April 1, while quoting the IPS cadre rules, the Account General had ordered the district treasuries in Jharkhand to hold back the salaries of all such officers.

This is because these 11 Superintendents of Police, despite being police captains in as many districts are yet to be awarded the IPS cadre.

The officers are Ravikant Dhan, Martin Poros Lakra, Subodh Prasad, Richerd Lakra,Udhayan Kumar Singh, Md Nehal, Parmeshwar Ravidas, Satish Prasad, Deo Bihari Sharma, Daddanji Sharma, and Yogendra Mehra.

Some of them are currently manning Naxalite infested districts like Lohardaga, Simdega and Ranchi as well.

But why have the posted non-IPS officers as Superintendents of Police? The extraordinary situation has emerged because at present Jharkhand has only 66 available IPS officers in the State against the cadre strength of 110 officers.

According to police headquarters Spokesman, RK Mallick, the Jharkhand police at present have 79 IPS officers, out of which 13 are on central deputation.

"We have 12 vacancies of the Regular Recruits (direct IPS officers) and 19 for the promoted IPS officers," Mallick, a Deputy Inspector General rank officer, told India Today.

This shortage of IPS officers perhaps explains why the Jharkhand Police headquarters has to post non-IPS officers as Superintendents of Police in districts. The State is woefully short of IPS officers.

But, this is just part explanation of the plight that the SPs are faced with. According to Jharkhand Home Secretary Sudhir Tripathi, the shortage of officers is also because of the pending promotion of state police service officers into IPS cadre.

"For some reason, we have not been able to promote any state police service officers into IPS since 2005. However, we expect that the backlog to be cleared by the month end as the Union Public Service Commission is set to shortly take a decision to this effect," Tripathi told India Today. "We have already informed AG on the issue," he adds

The Accountant General obviously is obviously not convinced. Salary and allowances of altogether 12 non-IPS SPs were withheld from April 1, 2007, by the AG, after the State's Home Department failed to "regularise" posting of police officers on the cadre posts of SPs. Later, the AG released the salary of one of the officers after the government regularised his posting.

Meanwhile, although the 11 Superintendents of police may start getting their pay cheques—should the UPSC agrees to promote them—a similar threat is now on the two IPS officers who are manning the two newly created districts of Ramgarh and Khunti,

This is because now these two cadre IPS officers are manning non-cadre posts. A final word is yet to be heard on the issue.

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