MHRD writes again to IIMA over hiring IPS officer

MHRD writes again to IIMA over hiring IPS officer

The tussle between Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rajnish Rai and Union government over former's appointment as an assistant professor at country's top business school Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad has escalated further with the Union government shooting off a second letter questioning Rai's appointment in the institute. 

Rai has been at loggerheads with the state government led by then chief minister Narendra Modi, now the prime minister, for leading the first arrests in Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in 2007. At that time, current Union Home Minister Amit Shah was Gujarat minister of state for home.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has recently written to the institute for the second time objecting to the appointment of Rai as a professor reportedly on the ground that "the officer has yet not retired and is under suspension." The second letter is said to have been written after the institute's response to the first similar letter.

IIMA officials refused to divulge information about its response to MHRD but admitted that the institute has received the second letter. "Prof Rajnish Rai has been appointed as an Assistant Professor at the institute to teach Public Systems. We refrain from commenting on this matter as of now," reads an official statement issued by the institute.

This issue was again discussed in the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday where Rai is contesting that the government should not interfere in his job. This petition was filed in March which is still pending as the Union government has been seeking adjournments on several grounds. Even on Wednesday, it sought time on the ground that its counsels were busy with other "important legal issues concerning GST among others."

Opposing the request for adjournment, advocate Rahul Sharma sought protection for his client Rai while claiming that "behind the scene, a game is being played out. They have written a second letter to the institute interfering in my client's job."

The court didn't grant protection to him and kept the matter for hearing on August 5. In the last hearing, the high court had pulled up the government for writing such letter to IIMA holding that "it amounted to interfering." 

On earlier occasions too, the division bench headed by Justice S R Brahmbhatt had criticised the government for not letting the IPS officer retired despite fulfilling the criteria in accordance with the law. The bench had opined that 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 1992-batch IPS, Rai proceeded on 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 unauthorised handing over the charge.