Re­tire (retd)

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Are you a re­tired civil ser­vant and write (retd) on your vis­it­ing card. Be care­ful as a case was reg­is­tered against KS Premachan­dra Ku­rup, a for­mer IAS of­fi­cer and for­mer di­rec­tor of state-run Co­op­er­a­tive Academy of Pro­fes­sional Ed­u­ca­tion (CAPE), stat­ing that he mis­used the IAS ti­tle by us­ing it af­ter re­tire­ment, and hence he should be pun­ished un­der Sec­tion 170 of IPC. Writ­ing IAS af­ter re­tire­ment is highly ir­reg­u­lar and quite un­be­com­ing of an of­fi­cer, it was al­leged by the state gov­ern­ment. Sec­tion 170 of the IPC says: “Who­ever pre­tends to hold any par­tic­u­lar of­fice as pub­lic ser­vant, know­ing that he does not hold such of­fice or falsely per­son­ates any other per­son hold­ing such of­fice, and in such as­sumed char­ac­ter does or at­tempts to do any act un­der colour of such of­fice, shall be pun­ished with im­pris­on­ment of either de­scrip­tion for a term which may ex­tend to two years, or with fine, or with both.” A sin­gle bench of the Ker­ala High Court in an or­der dated Novem­ber 23, 2012, ob­served that “use of nam­ing such ser­vice with or with­out suf­fix `re­tired’ by a for­mer mem­ber is an impropriety, but, cer­tainly it can­not be treated as an of­fence, none­the­less an of­fence un­der Sec­tion 170 of the Pe­nal Code.” The or­der pro­nounced by Jus­tice SS Satheesachan­dran, how­ever, clearly said: “To use with the name either IAS or IAS (retd.) af­ter leav­ing the ser­vice, no doubt, is not proper.” The state gov­ern­ment, which was not happy with the judge­ment filed a review pe­ti­tion. But the larger bench com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice Man­jula Chel­lur and Jus­tice K Vinod Chan­dran val­i­dated the or­der. The prob­lem be­tween the state co-op­er­a­tive depart­ment and Ku­rup cropped up when the lat­ter filed an af­fi­davit in the High Court al­leg­ing that he was asked to con­duct re­cruit­ment based on a list for­warded by co­op­er­a­tion min­is­ter CN Balakr­ish­nan’s of­fice when he headed CAPE af­ter re­tire­ment. Ku­rup was CAPE’s di­rec­tor for one year be­tween June 2011 and June 2012. This is what the bench com­pris­ing Chief Jus­tice Man­jula Chel­lur and Jus­tice K Vinod Chan­dran said: “Look­ing at the to­tal­ity of the facts and cir­cum­stances, we can­not but say that if such bick­er­ing in ad­min­is­tra­tion led to ini­ti­a­tion of crim­i­nal prose­cu­tion, it is very un­for­tu­nate. We leave it at that.”

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