MHRD objects to IIM-A appointing IPS officer as prof

Credits: IIM-Ahmedabad's official Twitter handle

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has objected to the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai as an associate professor in country's premier business school- Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), on the groundS that the IPS officer is under suspension. The Gujarat High Court, on the other hand, has slammed the central government for interfering with an independent institute. 

This development came to fore in the division bench of Gujarat High Court which is hearing Rai's petition praying the court to direct union as well as state government not to interfere in case he gets a new job. Rai's lawyer Rahul Sharma informed the court that MHRD has written to IIM-A asking why it has hired Rai despite him being suspended.

Rai, better known as the officer who made first arrests in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case, has stated in the petition that government should “not interfere, directly or indirectly, with any application made by the applicant for employment to any organization/institution or any other body and further allow him to take up any employment, profession or occupation that he may chose to earn his livelihood....”

While his petition remains pending in the court since March, IIM-A appointed Rai as assistant professor in May. During a brief hearing on Tuesday, the division bench of the high court led by justice S R Brahmbhatt slammed the MHRD for objecting to such appointment and writing a letter while holding that IIM-A is an autonomous institution. The bench orally held that writing such a letter amounts to interference. 

On an earlier occasion too, the bench had criticised the government for not letting the IPS officer proceed on voluntary retirement despite fulfilling the criteria in accordance with the law. The bench had opined, "Nothing remains to be done in this case in view of provision Section 16 (2) of All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958. The petitioner (Rai) was not under suspension at the time of seeking VRS."

The 1992-batch IPS, Rai took Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) on November 30, 2018, after completing 50 years of age. Section 16 (2) of All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958 provides VRS to a government servant who has completed 50 years of age provided he or she is not under suspension. Rai was then posted as Inspector General, Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism School, CRPF in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh.  

After he left the job, the union government responded that his application has been rejected and that he should join his duty back. Rai then  approached Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Ahmedabad and then high court seeking relief that he be treated as retired. In the meanwhile, the central government issued a chargesheet and later suspended him for unauthorisedly handing over the charge. 

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