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SOURCE: The Indian Express

The Centre has amended pension rules for civil servants, prohibiting retired officials of security and intelligence organisations from publishing anything pertaining to the organisation they worked in, including information relating to their experience and expertise in the organisation, without clearance from the head of the organisation.

Notifying the Central Civil Services (Pension) Amendment Rules, 2020 on Monday, the Department of Personnel and Training under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions introduced this condition as a substitute clause in rules on pension subject to future good conduct.

This amendment to Rule 8 means that pension can be withheld or withdrawn if the pensioner disobeys the rules. This change in rules is likely to impact retired officials of security and intelligence organisations who write in newspapers and magazines or author books on their former organisations and experiences.

Amending the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules,1972, the DoPT brought in a clause which states that those working in organisations mentioned in the Second Schedule of the RTI Act, upon retirement, will not be allowed to publish anything related to “domain of the organisation, including reference or information about any personnel and his designation, and expertise or knowledge gained by virtue of working in that organisation” without prior clearance from the head of the organisation.

Such a person, it specified, will not be allowed to publish any “sensitive” information and the head of the organisation concerned will decide whether the matter for publication is sensitive or not or falls in the domain of the organisation.

Organisations under the Second Schedule of the RTI Act are the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement, Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation Research Centre, Special Frontier Force, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, National Security Guards, Assam Rifles,

Sashastra Seema Bal (formerly Special Service Bureau), Special Branch (CID), Andaman and Nicobar, Crime

Branch-CID-CB, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Special Branch, Lakshadweep Police, Special Protection Group, Defence Research & Development Organisation, Border Road Development Board, and Financial Intelligence Unit. The CBI was added to this list by the Manmohan Singh government via an amendment to the RTI Act.

The Modi government amended the civil services conduct rules on November 27, 2014, adding a few clauses to Rule 3 (1). One of these said, “Every government employee shall at all times maintain political neutrality.” But this applies only till the officer is a member of the service.

In 2013, the Election Commission suggested a cooling-off period for bureaucrats joining politics after retirement – it was rejected.

For taking up commercial employment post retirement, there is a one-year cooling-off period. But there is no such provision for joining politics. If any officer wishes to join commercial employment within one year of retirement, he or she needs to take permission from the government.