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CBIC Board-level position: Claimants nervous about reappointment trend

By Rakesh Ranjan- 20 Aug 2021
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New Delhi (20.08.2021): Senior IRS (Customs and Indirect Taxes) officers under the Central Board of Indirect-taxes and Customs (CBIC) are said to have turned as apprehensive about career progression as their counterparts in the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). Gone are the days when IRS officers of CBIC considered themselves luckier than their colleagues in the CBDT in this matter.

CBIC officials' latest apprehension is said to be rooted in the widespread speculation about the supplanting of the linear career progression policy with the current trend in the CBDT whereby board members have been getting post-retirement extensions or getting re-appointed on contract as was done in the case of Sushil Chandra, P C Modi, S K Gupta, and others. Suspicion of IRS (IT&C) cadre officers recently got intensified by the rumour of an outgoing Member meeting someone at the top via another one at the top.    

While this may be good for retiring officers, it has a negative cascading impact down the line, denying officers their natural career growth presumed on the basis of extant rules and regulations.

So far, the new management style of reappointing retiring officials has been an exception. The fear is exception may become the rule as it did in the CBDT.

It is pointed out that two CBIC Members Sandeep Mohan Bhatnagar (Member, Customs) and O P Dadhich (Member, Investigation) will retire in the next 10 days. Bhatnagar will be completing his extended one-year term this month-end whereas Dadhich's first formal retirement may materialize in ten days in case he is not reappointed. 

There is persisting speculation about their continuation even though the selection interview against the arising vacancies has already taken place in the mid of July. Over 15 senior IRS (IT&C) officers were interviewed. Since no announcements have been made about who may fill the arising vacancies, officials are nervous and have been wondering whether politics will play its role in the due appointments to the board-level positions.  

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

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