“To make 2009 batch IAS officer look senior as Divisional Commissioner, LG administration has installed KAS officers as Deputy Commissioners across Jammu province”
In view of rising coronavirus cases, when other states are roping in more IAS and IPS officers to manage the situation, Jammu and Kashmir administration has reportedly resorted to ‘irregular’ deployment, with Jammu Division having only two IAS officers heading the districts, as against eight officers in Kashmir Division.
As per the latest posting of Deputy Commissioners across the 20 Districts of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, there are 10 Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers and 10 Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) officers manning the districts, but the deployment is relatively irregular, as out of ten districts of Jammu division, eight districts have KAS officers, whereas in Kashmir there are only two KAS officers heading the district.
However, there is nothing adverse in posting KAS officers as head of the District, though in exceptional cases, but at the time when the number of deaths due to coronavirus are multiplying in Jammu region, it becomes imperative for the administration to have equal distribution of IAS officers. Meanwhile, to compensate for this, the administration deployed Shahid Iqbal Choudhary (IAS) to see all COVID containment related work at Jammu, through Government Order No. 415-JK (GAD) of 2021, dated 6-05-2021.
According to the All India Service Rules, the position of the District Magistrate in any district is a cadre post, which means it cannot be filled by a person who is not an IAS officer.
Speaking to The Typewriter, a senior IAS officer, wishing anonymity said that the posting of KAS officers as Deputy Commissioner across the Jammu division is a deliberate attempt to provide a window to the young Divisional Commissioner.
“Posting of eight out of ten Deputy Commissioners in Jammu Division cannot be an administrative decision, it is a political decision to provide window to the young Divisional Commissioner, Jammu,” alleged senior bureaucrat, adding, “Divisional Commissioner Jammu-Dr. Raghav Langar is a 2009 batch IAS officer, so existing cadre of IAS officers in Jammu are mostly senior to him, thus putting them under Dr. Langar would be out of protocol.”
He asserted that the other two districts, including Kathua and Jammu have IAS officers as Deputy Commissioners, but they are junior to Dr. Langar.
“Officers from the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) have been manning posts reserved for the IAS, without being promoted to the IAS,” he said and added that while the AIS rules have provisions for this, like shortage of officers from the IAS, according to Rule 9(2) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules, 1954, the “exceptions” are supposed to be short-term measures and require the state government to duly obtain prior approval of the central government.
Giving District wise detail of the Jammu Division, senior IAS officer said that starting from Kathua, Mr. Rahul Yadav is an IAS officer of 2014 batch, Samba has Mrs. Anuradha Gupta (KAS), Jammu has Mr. Anshul Garg IAS of 2013 batch, Udhampur has Mrs. Indu Kanwal Chib (KAS), Reasi has Mr. Charandeep Singh (KAS), Rajouri has Mr. Rakesh Kumar (KAS), Poonch has Mr. Inder Jeet (KAS), Ramban has Mr. Mussarat Islam, Doda has Mr. Vikas Sharma (KAS) and District Kishtwar has Mr. Ashok Kumar (KAS).
Senior officer stated that all the KAS officers are competent enough, but their deployment is apparently not administrative, but political.
“As I said earlier, they have been put at respective places in a move to provide window to the Divisional Commissioner,” said senior bureaucrat, adding that to make his posting, which is out of cadre, to look normal, the subordinates have been selected from KAS cadre, instead of IAS.
He revealed that the bureaucracy in Kashmir Division is altogether different. “There are eight IAS officers as Deputy Commissioners of various districts in Kashmir Division, which shows that administration of Jammu was not the issue, but some other factor was entailed in the deployment of officers,” he said and added that involvement of top politicians of the Union Territory cannot be condoned in this regard, otherwise Jammu is equally important.
He, however, said that shortage of officers can also be the reason, but that doesn’t mean random officers shall be manning the district. “In case of shortage of IAS officers, the government must have deployed an equal number of IAS officers in both the provinces.
“In February this year, the Lok Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which merged the J&K cadre of All India Service Officers comprising Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers with that of the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram, and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre,” he said and added that this implies that officers of these services, posted in Union Territories and the three states mentioned, can now also be posted in J&K and Ladakh, and vice versa.
When tried to contact the official spokesperson of the J&K government, Rohit Kansal, for a comment, there was no response till the publishing of this report.