By the Way

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Dress­ing down of the Chief Sec­re­tary; Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra; Ram Nath Kovind’s new sec­re­tariat; Haryana re­poses faith in IAS

It's be­com­ing dif­fi­cult for civil ser­vants to do their jobs in the gov­ern­ment. Gone are the days when no one dared to ques­tion their be­hav­iour and dress sense. Civil ser­vants lived life king size. If one hap­pened to be the Chief Sec­re­tary of a state, every­body tended to fall in line. How­ever, over the past few decades, the clout of Chief Sec­re­taries has weak­ened as Chief Min­is­ters of re­spec­tive states now view them­selves as CEOs. The lat­ter want their Chief Sec­re­taries to be­have like rub­ber stamps. An­jani Ku­mar Singh, Chief Sec­re­tary, Bi­har, and a 1981-batch IAS of­fi­cer of the same state’s cadre, faced a pe­cu­liar sit­u­a­tion when he re­cently ap­peared be­fore the Supreme Court of In­dia. He was sum­moned by a bench com­pris­ing Jus­tice J Che­lameswar and Jus­tice S Ab­dul Nazeer to ex­plain why the state gov­ern­ment had de­layed fil­ing an ap­peal over a prop­erty dis­pute for four years and 23 days. Be­fore Singh could re­ply, the Supreme Court im­me­di­ately rep­ri­manded him be­cause of what he wore. The bench was of­fended by his black trousers and band-gala coat. They asked him whether he treated his po­lit­i­cal boss in the same man­ner, and whether he showed the same dis­re­spect. The court felt that gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials should show re­spect for the ju­di­ciary, like they do for con­sti­tu­tional posts. “Would you tell us how you treat your CM? Do you go to the meet­ings in an in­for­mal dress? If not, then how can you come in court wear­ing in­for­mal clothes? This is not the way to come to the high­est court of the coun­try,” the bench ob­served. Singh ten­dered an un­con­di­tional apol­ogy for not main­tain­ing the dress code. It’s sur­pris­ing that An­jani Ku­mar Singh for­got the lessons he learnt dur­ing his academy days. In the academy, it’s taught how a civil ser­vant should dress for of­fi­cial du­ties. This is a mes­sage to all civil ser­vants to be care­ful while ap­pear­ing be­fore the Supreme Court and those g who hold con­sti­tu­tional posts.

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