The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Monday issued an interim order directing the Kerala government to refrain from issuing appointment, transfer, and posting orders in IAS cadre positions without the recommendations of the Civil Services Board. This decision came in response to a petition filed by the Kerala IAS Officers’ Association, along with IAS officers B. Ashok (IAS:1998:KL) and Priyanka G. (IAS:2017:KL), challenging the government’s transfer of certain IAS officers, allegedly violating the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Amendment Rules, 2014.
The tribunal noted that the State government failed to present a case that the Civil Services Board had been convened or recommendations sought since 2014-2015. The absence of an explanation for not convening the board led the tribunal to prima facie accept the applicants’ allegations as undisputed.
The association argued that the non-convening of the Civil Services Board had resulted in cadre officers serving in sensitive posts, such as district collector, secretary to the government, and head of critical departments, for an average tenure below the prescribed minimum of two years. They emphasized that the board should be responsible for making recommendations for the appointment and transfer of cadre officers.
According to the association, a cadre officer appointed to a cadre post should serve for at least two years, unless promoted, retired, sent on deputation outside the State, or undergoing training exceeding two months. Any transfer or posting before this specified minimum period should only occur based on the recommendation of the Civil Services Board. The association argued that the frequent issuance of transfer and posting orders for IAS Officers in the State without the board’s recommendation and without adhering to mandatory conditions is legally unsustainable.
In response, the government contended that the IAS Cadre Rules, as amended in 2014 and 2016, do not mandate that all transfers and postings of IAS officers require recommendations from the Civil Services Board. The government argued that recommendations may only be necessary if an IAS officer is transferred prematurely before completing the prescribed service period in a post.
The tribunal has scheduled further hearings on the matter for January 10.