A few days back, a case of abuse of power came to light in Delhi. The case was that an IAS couple used to walk daily in the evening on the stadium track with their dog at Thyagaraj Stadium. The stadium administration used to get the stadium vacated by 7 pm so that they do not face any problem in walking. Now when this news was brought to the notice of the public and the government by the Indian Express newspaper, the Ministry of Home Affairs (Government of India) took action and sent IAS Sanjeev Khirwar to Ladakh and his wife IAS Rinku Dugga to Arunachal Pradesh.
This action of the government is called punishment posting in colloquial language. Understand it like this that an officer who is enjoying a prestigious post in a city rich in amenities and then sent him to a place which is relatively backward in material amenities, then we will call it punishment posting. However, this is not a word of administrative language, nor has the Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned anything like this in its action form.
Now the question is, should one be considered punished for his act by posting punishment? Along with this, there is also a question that is it appropriate to call a place a punishment posting?
First of all, we try to understand why punishment posting is given? In fact, when an officer misuses his powers and his act is not a criminal act, but morally he is definitely guilty. So often officers are sent away from their comfort zone to a place where they are not as powerful as they are now.
Now let us understand what is the meaning of being this powerful?
The reference to an officer being powerful is not merely to his post-power and position. An important component of this is the place where that officer is posted. Along with this, the most important department is the department in which that officer is posted. Along with these three things, the aura of that officer is created at that place, which increases his social circle and prestige. By combining all these components of power, an officer becomes powerful.
In this way, if an officer is sent away from his power center to a place where he has only the dignity of the post and the responsibility and power given with it, then it is called punishment posting. This is not a punishment for any officer, but it is definitely like a problem. If we see this in the case of Delhi, then we can understand that the IAS couple will be physically away from each other now. Apart from this, their children who study here will face problems in their studies. There will be a hindrance in the treatment of their parents. Along with this, the balance of power that they had maintained in their favor together here will also be broken.
Now coming to that question, is it appropriate to call a place a punishment posting? The answer is that for India every place in its geographical area is of equal importance. Underestimating a place is like showing disrespect towards that place. But in practical terms, we mean the importance of a place with the amenities available at that place. In this sense, some places are forward and some places are backward. But if a morally guilty officer is transferred and sent to another place on the ground that it is a punishment posting, then it becomes a case of finding that place a morally corrupt officer.
In this context, this action of the government certainly seems to be mild from the moral point of view. Now we will try to understand what else the government could have done on this issue?
Since this was neither a criminal case under the IPC section nor was it directly a matter of economic corruption. Therefore, the transfer action on this issue prima facie seems to be justified. Yes! The government also had the option of withholding the posting of these officers till the matter is investigated. The government can also make a provision in this regard that if found guilty of conduct related to abuse of power, it can deduct some of the salary of the officers and can also reduce the post if the matter is of serious nature.
This issue is not only limited to the misuse of his position by the official, but it is also an issue related to the future of the players. Since the players were not able to do proper practice due to this, it must have affected their performance and morale. The players practicing on that ground say that they used to practice till ten o’clock earlier. Ever since these officers started using the ground for a walk, they are compelled to go only at 7 o’clock.
One, India’s poor performance in the Olympics remains the same. If they are denied the facilities given to these players from above, it will also affect our performance in international competitions. That is why it is necessary to take appropriate action in this matter so that it can become an example for the officers who behave like this.