Chennai: In an unprecedented and controversial order, the Tamil Nadu State Information Commission has recommended to the Chief Secretary to "compulsorily retire" nine IAS officers, who held the post of Teachers Recruitment Board between June 2011 and October 2020. The officers including seniors and relatively juniors were charged with not discharging their duty "with accountability and transparency" and repeating mistakes in the conduct of competitive examinations for recruiting teachers.
Information Commissioner Muthuraj in his order asked the Chief Secretary to record in the Annual Confidential Reports of the nine officers that they failed to ensure accountability and transparency while heading the TRB.
The order was passed on applications moved by some candidates contending that though they entered the correct answer in the multiple choice questions, it was marked as wrong denying them marks. Due to this they were not recruited.
Incidentally, an IAS officer Surjit Chaudhary against whom action was recommended had retired from service five years ago. He has questioned the competency of the Information Commission to pass orders recommending compulsory retirement for civil servants who are government by All India Services rules.
However, Muthuraj has held that the Commission derives such powers under the Right to Information Act.
"The TRB Chairmen failed to correct the wrong questions and answer keys and did not provide relief to the candidates. Due to the lack of accountability from the subject experts, professors, and higher officials of TRB, the recruitment exams were cancelled and recruitment could not be completed," he noted in his order.
A bureaucrat said the Information Commission can only penalise Public Information Officers for not providing information under the RTI Act and not disciplinary action against top officers.
Compulsory retirement can be given only after due disciplinary process, he added.