Bangalore: Government officials might find it easy to enter politics soon after they retire from their job following a new policy which is backed by three ministries in favor of officers who want to join politics and contest elections after retirement, reports Nagendar Sharma for Hindustan Times.
“Any such restriction whether by way of service rules or by way of an amendment of the election laws may not stand the test of valid classification under the article of the constitution which deals with equality before law,” Vahanvati told HT.
He further added, “As far as contesting elections is concerned, it is a fundamental and basic feature of the constitution….Unless an individual incurs disqualification from contesting according to the law, this right cannot be curtailed till there is constitutional basis for doing so.”The attorney general’s opinion had been sought on a move initiated by the Election Commission, after it collected enough criticism about senior civil servants including police officers joining politics immediately after retirement. It is said that some of them even contest for elections from constituencies which were directly under their authority.
The commission stated that a certain cooling-off period for government officials will be provided between their retirement and the opening of political career.
It appears that a new modified clause will be added soon which will be in favor of the home ministry and the department of personnel and training (DoPT). But, the law ministry states that there is no requirement in bringing about changes since it could be done by changing the relevant service rules.
“The maintenance of independence and neutrality are relevant for government servants accepting a commercial employment after retirement. That is why existing provisions require them to wait for a year after retirement to protect the government’s interests, since they might have dealt with the interests of a particular private group in service” the AG wrote.
The law ministry has forwarded the plan to the DoPT in order to endorse Vahanvati’s opinion.