Sources told TOI that the DoPT, with the endorsement of Junior Personnel Minister Jitendra Singh, wrote to the Attorney General on Tuesday, saying it was ready to resume awarding promotions due to CSS officers. “We have sought legal advice on pursuing the promotions, as there are many cases pending before the courts, in particular the Supreme Court. Once we get the green signal from AG, promotions can resume for CSS officers,” a senior government official said.
The DoPT, the official said, has always favored timely promotions for CSS officers, who are considered the backbone and institutional memory of the bureaucracy, because a delay leaves several positions vacant, forcing a officer to handle a double load, thus affecting administrative efficiency. Jitendra Singh had, in fact, approved promotions for around 4,000 CSS officers more than three years ago, despite ongoing court cases. However, this led to more lawsuits.
“CSS officers, many of whom became eligible for promotion nearly 5-6 years ago and some who even retired without promotion, are demoralized due to the lack of career advancement. That is why the DoPT has now contacted the Attorney General for legal advice on pursuing the promotion orders despite ongoing challenges in court,” an official said.
The CSS Forum, a union of CSS officers, has raised the issue forcefully with the government through petitions, protests and even social media campaigns. About 1,800 vacancies exist at the Section Officer, Under-Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Director and Joint-Secretary levels against their sanctioned strength of 6,210. In addition, more than 2,700 staff are working on ad hoc promotions .