Cabinet to adopt new code for ministers

Following the recent Supreme Court judgement that government officials should not act on the mere verbal orders of their political bosses, the government has decided to tighten up the code of conduct for the ministers that would plug any holes allowing political bosses from using bureaucrats to further political goals.

On Thursday, the union cabinet would take up amendments to the Code of Conducts for Ministers which has a new clause: “uphold the political impartiality of the civil services and not to direct bureaucrats to act in any way which could conflict with their duties and responsibilities as a government employee”. The modified CoC, applicable for both Central and state ministers, would prevent bureaucrats from cultivating political patronage.

"The proposed amendment will enable the political executives to guard against the trend (of) so-called attractive transfers and postings (which) continues to allure civil servants. This will also enable civil servants not to act in any way which would conflict with their duties and responsibilities," the proposal said.

The decision to introduce the amendment comes after complaints that bureaucrats work favourably for the ministers in order to get ‘plum’ postings.

In its recent order, the apex court has said bureaucrats should stop acting on verbal orders of their political executives, while also asking for fixed tenures for civil servants to insulate them from political interferences.  This is only the second amendment to the Ministers CoC since its introduction in 1964.

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