Reckless transfers

Periodical transfer is part of service career of a Government employee. In 2010, the Cabinet passed a resolution laying down the conditions and circumstances under which employees would be transferred. The Cabinet order said that an officer will not be transferred before expiry of at least two years as minimum stay at one post. Only under emergency a premature transfer will be ordered and there has to be full justification for such transfer. However, throwing to winds the order of the Cabinet, large number of officers including IAS and KAS and senior police officers have been prematurely transferred by the Coalition Government. The Chief Minister answering questions of Legislators in the Assembly revealed this information. During past three years General Administration Department has issued 235 such orders. Shockingly, 45 IAS and 20 IPS officers besides large number of members of Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) were transferred within one year or less than that in 2016 and 2017. These transfers have been ordered under the garb of exigency of situation which on the face of it appears only farcical because there has not been any emergency necessitating the use of emergency clause. There are instances to show that the transfer policy of the Government has been and continues to be abused and what drives the Government are neither the policy parameters not the service rules but only the whims and wishes of the powers that be.
Frequent and irrational transfers of officers, including senior IAS/KAS officers, are highly detrimental and damaging to the principle of good governance. It takes an officer at least four to five months to understand the system and procedures that need to be observed at the new place of posting. He hardly settled down to get conversant to the nitty-gritty of the new assignment when he is again shunted out to a new posting.
A more disappointing and regrettable aspect of this high-handedness of superior authorities is that even the Ministers in charge of various departments are not protesting when the Secretaries of their departments are prematurely transferred. The Ministers are party to the Cabinet decision of not transferring an officer before completion of two years of term at one post. Why the Ministers do not protest and resist is a mystery. Not only that, it has been observed that some Ministers are wilfully supporting the transfer of their Secretaries and senior bureaucrats. What does it mean? The Ministers cannot take the Government as their private fief and throw the Cabinet order or the established rules to winds. This is a serious flaw and the higher authorities including the Chief Minister should take full notice of this major flaw in the administrative structure. No institution in a democratic dispensation enjoys unbounded powers and authority. There are checks and balances and all authorities have to remain within the purview of the checks and balances.  Once these balancing factors are violated the administration has the danger of collapsing. The Government shall have to take due note of this situation.