Parallel rules governing the apex pay scales of IPS officers

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Rajesh Ahuja
New Update
Parallel rules governing the apex pay scales of IPS officers

New Delhi: Under an executive order of the government, the next IB chief Tapan Kumar Deka is not entitled to get the apex pay scale since he is not among the senior-most 11 Indian Police Service (IPS) officers serving at the centre but there is another set of rules, called IPS (Pay) Rules, which, on the contrary, say he is entitled to get the top pay grade by virtue of holding the post of Director, Intelligence Bureau (DIB).

IPS (Pay) Rules were issued as part of a gazette notification in September 2016, while the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), in July 2016, cleared an executive order saying only 11 IPS officers serving at the centre and empanelled in the rank of Director General (DG) can get the apex pay scale in order of seniority.

Notification on IPS pay rules:

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"So we have IPS Pay Rules and an order of the ACC and both are not in conformity. The question here that needs to be dealt with is why there are two sets of rules/order to fix the salary of top IPS officers of the country and which should prevail legally for deciding the pay grade," says an IPS officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. 

Deka is going to take charge on June 30 as the next DIB. 

The DIB traditionally chairs the annual conference of all police chiefs of the country as he is "considered the Head of entire police family in India" and is the only four-star police officer in the country, at par with the army chief. 

But still, as DIB, Deka will not get the apex pay scale due to the July 2016 ACC order, which the IPS fraternity holds as a devaluation of the post of DIB. 

ACC order saying apex scale to be given to 11 IPS officers on the basis of seniority:

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As per the IPS (Pay) Rules, IPS officers manning around a dozen posts at the centre are eligible to get the apex pay scale and these include the designation of Director, Intelligence Bureau (DIB). The pay rules do not mention any criterion of seniority, therefore, if an officer is appointed DIB or Director, Central Bureau of Investigation or chief of Border Security Force, he or she is entitled to get the apex pay scale just by virtue of holding the post.

IPS Pay Rules saying apex pay scale should be give on the basis of post the officer holds:

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"But in the last, six years, the government has gone by the ACC order of 2016 and granted apex pay scale only by seniority, which makes Deka ineligible to get the highest pay scale, despite he becoming head of the "entire police family" of the country. Now either the government amend IPS (Pay) Rules to bring them in conformity with the ACC order or change the ACC order. We cannot have two sets of regulations, governing the apex pay scales of IPS officers as both of them contradict each other. There was a move to amend the rules but it could not go through for many reasons," added the IPS officer quoted above.

Deka is a 1988 batch IPS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre who has superseded five officers in the IB, the domestic intelligence agency of the country, to become the next IB chief. One among the superseded, AS Rajan, is a year senior to Deka, and belongs to the 1987 batch while there are four more officers in Deka's own batch of 1988 who are senior to him. They all are yet to get the apex pay scale. As per the ACC order, once these officers will get the apex pay scale and only then Deka's turn will come. 

Apex pay scale is the salary granted to top bureaucrats, secretary or director-general rank officers belonging to Indian Administration Service, Indian Foreign Service or Indian Police Service etc. 

The current apex pay scale is fixed at Rs 2.25 lakh per month (fixed) excluding allowances due. The country's top babu, the cabinet secretary and three service chiefs get a higher pay scale at Rs 2.5 lakh per month (fixed).

The IPS fraternity says that the Pay rules should get precedence over the ACC order while fixing the salary of senior officers. 

"The IPS (Pay) Rules are what we call delegated legislation. The rules were framed following legislation by the Parliament, but the seniority principle is based only on the executive order of the ACC and hence, rules should get precedence over the ACC order," said another IPS officer who also wished to remain anonymous. 

The officer quoted above added that the dichotomy does not end with two sets of regulations governing the grant of the apex pay scale to IPS officers serving at the centre. Their salary is being fixed differently at the centre and the state as well. 

"All state police chiefs get apex scale by virtue of holding the post. So in states, the apex pay scale entails a particular post while at the centre, it goes by the principle of seniority," the officer added.

Interestingly, another government order stated that if an officer is removed as DGP of a state, he or she, if continues to serve in the state, will have his or her apex pay scale get protected on a personal basis.

But if the same officer, after serving as state police chief, comes to centre on deputation and he/she is not among the 11 senior-most IPS officers, he/she will be brought down to HAG+ scale, which is a rank lower than the apex pay scale.

Protection of apex pay scale if an officer is removed as DGP but stays in state only:

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"Even though, the officer is demoted in pay scale, his salary remains protected as the government gives personal pay to the officer which is equivalent to the shortfall in salary after demotion to the HAG+ scale but still a demotion is a just a demotion," said a third IPS officer who declined to be quoted by name. 

Many IPS officers say that even though there are 11 officers eligible to get the apex pay scale at the centre, normally the number effectively comes down to seven only. 

"The tendency is to grant apex pay scale to only nine officers at the centre and keeping two posts vacant as many times, an officer comes to centre from state and is entitled to get apex scale by virtue of seniority. Therefore, to deal with such an eventuality, only nine apex scales are granted at any given time and even among them two posts - DIB and DCBI - have a fixed tenure of two years. So if an officer becomes DIB or DCBI, he serves for two years at least and normally on the apex scale so it remained blocked for two years. Hence, the rest of the officers have to make do with only seven apex pay scales in effect," said a fourth IPS officer. 

The IPS fraternity says the genesis of the executive order lies with the case concerning RN Ravi, a retired IPS officer of the 1976 batch and now the Governor of Tamil Nadu. 

Ravi, when he was still serving (he was in IB), approached the Central Administative Tribunal in 2011/12 saying his junior, PK Mehta, a 1977 batch IPS officer, has been appointed chief of Railway Protection Force and by virtue of holding the post, has been granted the apex pay scale, while despite being senior, he is still languishing in the HAG+ scale. 

Therefore he should also be granted the apex pay scale as per the "Next Below" rule. The Tribunal ruled in favour of Ravi. The government appealed against the order in High Court and Supreme Court but lost on both occasions. 

Following the judicial defeat in Ravi's case, the government, fearing an avalanche of such cases in courts, came up with the executive order by ACC and started granting the apex pay scale in the order of seniority. 

"But why is seniority only limited to 11 officers. Even if the government follows the "Next Below" rule, at any given time there are around 20 IPS officers serving as DG at the centre. If these seven or eight officers can be accommodated in the apex scale, a lot of headaches can be saved. The government is not going to face any monetary loss here as those granted the apex scale have already reached the same pay grade due to gradual increments in salary," said another IPS officer who too wished to remain anonymous.

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