Civil Services Reforms

What are the rules for resignation and reinstatement of an IAS officer?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Civil Services

Mains level: Resignation and reinstatement of an IAS officer

A decorated Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and UPSC CSE topper from 2010, who resigned from the service in protest against the “unabated” killings in Kashmir in 2019, has been reinstated.

What rules apply when an IAS officer chooses to resign?

  • A resignation is a formal intimation in writing by an officer of his/her intention or a proposal to leave the IAS, either immediately or at a specified date in the future.
  • Guidelines of the Department of Personnel, the cadre controlling department for the IAS, say that a resignation has to be clear and unconditional.
  • The resignation of an officer of any of the three All-India Services — IAS, the IPS and IFoS — is governed by Rules 5(1) and 5(1)(A) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958.
  • There are similar rules for resignation of officers belonging to the other central services as well.
  • Resignation from service is entirely different from accepting the government’s Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).

To whom must the resignation of an IAS officer be submitted?

  • An officer serving in a cadre (state) must submit his/her resignation to the chief secretary of the state.
  • An officer who is on central deputation is required to submit his/her resignation to the secretary of the concerned Ministry or Department.
  • The Ministry/Department then forwards the officer’s resignation to the concerned state cadre, along with its comments or recommendations.

What happens after the resignation is submitted?

  • The state checks to see if any dues are outstanding against the officer, as well as the vigilance status of the officer or whether any cases of corruption etc. are pending against him/her.
  • In case there is such a case, the resignation is normally rejected.
  • Before forwarding the resignation to the central government, the concerned state is supposed to send information on the issues of dues and vigilance status, along with its recommendation.
  • The resignation of the officer is considered by the competent authority, i.e., the central government, only after the recommendation of the concerned cadre has been received.
  • The competent authorities are: Minister of State at the DoPT in respect of the IAS, the MHA in respect of the IPS, and the MoEFCC in respect of the Forest Service.
  • Being the minister in charge of the DoPT, the Prime Minister himself takes decisions currently in respect of the IAS.

Under what circumstances is a resignation accepted or rejected?

  • A circular issued by the DoPT on February 15, 1988 regarding resignation says that it is not in the interest of the government to retain an officer who is unwilling to serve.
  • The general rule, therefore, is that the resignation of an officer should be accepted — except in certain circumstances.
  • The references are made regarding the merit of the disciplinary case pending against the Government servant and whether it would be in the public interest to accept the resignation.
  • In some cases, resignations have been rejected because disciplinary cases were pending against officers.
  • In such cases, concurrence of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) is obtained.
  • The government also checks whether the concerned officer had executed any time-bond to serve the government.

Is an officer allowed to withdraw a resignation that has already been submitted?

  • Rule 5(1A)(i) of the amended DCRB Rules says the central government may permit an officer to withdraw his/her resignation “in the public interest”.
  • An amendment in the Rules in 2011 states the member is allowed to resume duty as a result of permission to withdraw the resignation is not more than 90 days”.
  • The request for withdrawal of resignation shall NOT be accepted where a member of the Service resigns to be associated with any active politics/ political parties.

And under what circumstances is the withdrawal of an officer’s resignation accepted?

  • The 2011 guidelines say that if a resigned officer resignation sends an intimation in writing withdrawing it before its acceptance by the competent authority, the resignation will be deemed to have been automatically withdrawn.
  • The officer under discussion had resigned on January 9, 2019, but his resignation was not processed.


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