Chandigarh – On 26 June 2023, the Bhagwant Mann led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Punjab issued an Order appointing (read posting) a 1993 batch IAS of Punjab Cadre Anurag Verma as State’s new Chief Secretary (CS) with effect from 1 July 2023.
The incumbent Punjab CS, VK Janjua, a 1989 batch IAS is superannuating later this week on 30 June 2023.
Meanwhile, Hemant Kumar, an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, after perusing the latest list of all senior IAS officers who are currently posted as Chief Secretaries in all 28 States & 4 UTs including NCT of Delhi in the country, told that contrary to expectations, Verma would not be the junior-most IAS amongst his counterparts across the country i.e. who are posted on the coveted post of Chief Secretary.
Currently, Tripura CS Jitendra Kumar Sinha belonging to 1996 batch of IAS is the junior-most in the elite list of county’s Chief Secretaries whereas Meghalaya CS Donald Phillips is of 1993 batch of IAS i.e. he is the batchmate of Punjab’s new CS Anurag Verma, said Hemant.
The Advocate further elaborated that Uttar Pradesh CS Durga Shanker Mishra is the seniormost IAS currently posted as CS in the country. He belongs to the 1984 batch of IAS. Rajasthan CS Usha Sharma and Madhya Pradesh CS Iqbal Singh Bains both are of 1985 batch of IAS whereas Haryana CS Sanjeev Kaushal and Karantaka CS Vandita Sharma both belong to the 1986 batch of IAS.
Bihar CS Amir Subhani, Gujarat CS Raj Kumar, Jharkhand CS Sukhdev Singh, Kerela CS Dr. VP Joy, Maharashtra CS Manoj Saunik and NCT of Delhi CS Naresh Kumar all are of 1987 batch. Mizoram CS Dr. Renu Sharma, Tamil Nadu CS V Irai Anbu, Uttarakhand CS Dr Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and West Bengal CS Hari Krishna Dwivedi belong to 1988 batch of IAS.
Arunachal Pradesh CS Dharmendra, Assam CS Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chattisgarh CS Amitabh Jain, Odisha CS Pradeep Kumar Jena & Telangana CS A. Santhi Kumari all are of 1989 batch. Andhra Pradesh CS Dr. Jawahar Reddy Comma S, Himachal Pradesh CS Prabodh Saxena & Sikkim CS Vijay Bhushan Pathak belong to the 1990 batch of IAS. Goa CS Puneet Kumar Goel & Nagaland CS Jan E Alam are of 1991 batch of IAS whereas Manipur CS Vineet Joshi is of 1992 batch of IAS.
As far as 3 UTs which have post of CS, Hemant told that Jammu & Kashmir CS Arun Kumar Mehta is of 1988 batch, Puducherry CS Rajeev Verma belongs to 1992 batch whereas Andaman & Nicobar Islands CS Keshav Chandra is of 1995 batch of IAS.
Be that as it may, in the new Punjab CS appointment (posting) Order issued by State Government on 26 June, it has also been mentioned that consequent upon implementation of such Order, a total of seven IAS officers senior to Verma viz. Anirudh Tiwari and Anurag Agarwal, both IAS of 1990 batch, A. Venu Prasad and Seema Jain, both IAS of 1991 batch and Sarvjit Singh, Raji P. Shrivastava and K.A.P. Singh, all IAS of 1992 batch shall be designated as Special Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab.
Hemant after after perusing the official list of IAS officers in Punjab Cadre told that not only the above seven IAS senior to new Chief Secy Verma but rather one more IAS viz. Ravneet Kaur, who is of 1988 batch and who is currently too designated as Special Chief Secretary would continue to remain so. Her retirement from IAS is scheduled in Oct, 2023. Thus after Verma would take over as new Chief Secretary on 1st July 2023, there would be a total of 8 Special Chief Secretaries in Punjab IAS Cadre.
As on today, total 12 IAS are senior to new Punjab Chief Secretary (Designate) Anurag Verma. While 1989 batch VK Janjua is incumbent Chief Secretary, two women IAS viz. Vini Mahajan of 1987 batch and Anjali Bhawra of 1988 batch and one Vijoy Kumar Singh of 1990 batch are currently on deputation with Government of India. While Mahajan’s superannuation from IAS is scheduled in Oct, 2024, in case of Bhawra it is in June, 2024 and in case of Vijoy Kumar, it is in Nov, 2024. Although they are unlikely to be repatriated (return back) to their home cadre of Punjab till their superannuation, but in case any of these three return back, he or she would too have to be designated as Special Chief Secretary.
Be that as it may, Advocate Hemant says not only as per administrative propriety but also as per principles of natural justice, all the Special Chief Secretaries, i.e. all those senior IAS officers in State Cadre who are senior in batch year (service) to the State’s new Chief Secretary ought to be posted in such a way so that they don’t have to report to the State CS since he happens to be their junior in IAS.
Hemant recalled an anecdote pertaining to his home State of Haryana of mid-90s when a 1962 batch IAS, HD Bansal was made Chief Secretary of Haryana, at that time a 1961 batch IAS in the State Cadre viz. A. Banerjee, who was senior to Bansal, was posted as Chairperson, State Planning Board. Both had to report to Chief Minister, Haryana until 1960 batch IAS MC Gupta was posted as State Chief Secretary.
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