25 May 2023

Honourable Rashtrapatiji,

We are a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central and State Governments in the course of our careers. Both as individuals and as a group, we believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India. We do not owe allegiance to any political party.

A systematic attempt is being made to change the character of the civil services, particularly the IAS and the IPS, which, in our constitutional scheme, were uniquely intended to be a protective ring around the Constitution, unaffected by political changes,  having an All India perspective rather than a regional, parochial one and being secure enough to maintain an independent, nonpartisan  outlook, without fear or favour.  It is in this context that we seek to approach you on a matter which, of late, is causing much concern to us and which we are duty bound to bring to your notice.

The bedrock of all civil services in any democracy worth the name is their independence, neutrality, non-adherence to any political ideology in the discharge of official duties, the freedom to articulate their views to the political executive and the security of knowing that they would not be subjected to arbitrary actions for adhering to these values.

These foundational characteristics had been forcefully expressed by Sardar Patel in his address to the Constituent Assembly in October 1947 in the following words:

There is no alternative to this administrative system…The Union will go, you will not have a united India if you do not have a good All India Service which has the independence to speak out its mind, which has the sense of security that you will stand by your work…If you do not follow this course, then do not follow the present Constitution…Remove them and I see nothing but a picture of chaos all over the country.”

Contrary to the above exhortation, we fear that the government, of which you are the constitutional head, is now attempting to distort this basic framework and historical understanding.  

Further,  measures are being taken that threaten the unique federal design of the IAS and the IPS, which underlies Sardar Patel’s vision of a permanent civil service that would  both bind the country together and enable it to maintain a balance between the interests of the Union and the interests of the States. There are noticeable attempts to pressurise officers to show exclusive loyalty to the Union rather than to the ‘parent’ state cadre to which they are allotted. On occasion, arbitrary departmental actions have been taken against those who refuse to do so. Service Rules are sought to be amended to compel central deputations without the consent of either the officers concerned or their state governments, effectively undermining the authority and control of Chief Ministers over their officers. This has disturbed the federal balance and left civil servants torn between conflicting loyalties, thereby weakening their ability to be impartial.

In the past governments have permitted lateral recruitment at senior levels and many such officers have distinguished themselves. Lately, however, there has been opacity in the recruitment process at mid-levels and concerns that candidates are being chosen based on their ideological predilections. The consequences of this for the future of an independent civil service requires no comment.  

The actions and words of some very senior functionaries of the central government increases our concern on the future of the civil service and the consequent danger to democracy in India.

In this context we would like to mention that the National Security Advisor (NSA), while addressing IPS officers at their passing out function in 2021, had emphasised that they should treat civil society as the “fourth  generation of warfare, that can be subverted, suborned, divided and manipulated to hurt the interests of the nation”.  Such sentiments are antithetical to any democratic dispensation and aim at placing civil society in a position of conflict with the state.

On the 21st of April this year, the Prime Minister addressed a gathering of civil service officers on Civil Services Day. The address was unremarkable and comprised largely of a litany of the achievements of the present government over the past nine years, with a proforma acknowledgement of the contributions of the civil services. What was disturbing was his exhortation to the officers to be firm in dealing with malfeasance of political parties while in power. Though couched neutrally, the intent and objective were unmistakable.

Our concern about the future of the civil services is heightened by the reaction of some civil servants. The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie (LBSNAA) is the foundational training institute for All India Services and Central Services. In a recent op-ed, the Director of the LBSNAA wrote, “The task of defining an Indian ethos for the civil servants began in the 75th year of India’s independence, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address where he spelt out the country’s vision….”. Such unwarranted encomiums to the Prime Minister, by the Director of the premier academy for training future civil servants, are deeply disturbing.

We apprehend that moves are afoot to redact Sardar Patel’s vision of an independent and apolitical civil service and replace it with apparatchiks and foot soldiers whose loyalty shall be to the ruling party and not to the Constitution of India.

At a time when politics is leaning dangerously towards a centralised, authoritarian, national security state with a leadership  seemingly amenable to abandoning, without demur, the fundamental principles on which our Constitution is based, it has become critical for citizens to ensure that institutions and systems like the civil services which can check this frightening erosion of constitutional values in the manner envisaged by the great Sardar are protected and strengthened. By virtue of their allegiance to the Constitution and not the government of the day, the All India Services, particularly the IAS and IPS, have a critical role to play. As the Constitutional Head of the Republic, we appeal to you to convey our concerns to the Union Government and caution them that this attempt to change the character of the civil services is fraught with extreme danger and, as Sardar Patel had warned many years ago, will spell the death of constitutional government in India.


With profound regards,

Constitutional Conduct Group (82 signatories, as below)

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI
2. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI
3. Anand Arni RAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
4. Mohinderpal Aulakh IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police (Jails), Govt. of Punjab
5. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
6. Chandrashekar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI
7. Sushant Baliga Engineering Services (Retd.) Former Additional Director General, Central PWD, GoI
8. Rana Banerji RAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
9. T.K. Banerji IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
10. Sharad Behar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
11. Aurobindo Behera IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Odisha
12. K.V. Bhagirath IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, Indian Ocean Rim Association, Mauritius
13. Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI
14. Ravi Budhiraja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, GoI
15. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
16. R. Chandramohan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi
17. Kalyani Chaudhuri IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
18. Gurjit Singh Cheema IAS (Retd.) Former Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Govt. of Punjab
19. F.T.R. Colaso IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Karnataka & former Director General of Police, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir
20. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
21. Surjit K. Das IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttarakhand
22. P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI
23. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana
24. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden
25. A.S. Dulat IPS (Retd.) Former OSD on Kashmir, Prime Minister’s Office, GoI
26. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Italy
27. Suresh K. Goel IFS (Retd.) Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI
28. H.S. Gujral IFoS (Retd.) Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab
29. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI
30. Ravi Vira Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India
31. Vinod C. Khanna IFS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, MEA, GoI
32. Ish Kumar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP (Vigilance & Enforcement), Govt. of Telangana and former Special Rapporteur, National Human Rights Commission
33. Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal
34. Subodh Lal IPoS (Resigned) Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI
35. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
36. Amitabh Mathur IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI
37. L.L. Mehrotra IFS (Retd.) Former Special Envoy to the Prime Minister and former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, GoI
38. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan
39. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI
40. Noor Mohammad IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India
41. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal
42. Shiv Shankar Mukherjee IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
43. Nagalsamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala
44. Sobha Nambisan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary (Planning), Govt. of Karnataka
45. Ramesh Narayanaswami IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT of Delhi
46. Surendra Nath IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Finance Commission, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh
47. P. Joy Oommen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Chhattisgarh
48. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI
49. Maxwell Pereira IPS (Retd.) Former Joint Commissioner of Police, Delhi
50. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI
51. R. Poornalingam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, GoI
52. Rajesh Prasad IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to the Netherlands
53. R.M. Premkumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra
54. T.R. Raghunandan IAS (Retd.) Former Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI
55. N.K. Raghupathy IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Staff Selection Commission, GoI


56. V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission
57. P.V. Ramesh IAS (Retd.) Former Addl. Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
58. Satwant Reddy IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI
59. Vijaya Latha Reddy IFS (Retd.) Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI
60. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania
61. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned)  
62. A.K. Samanta IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police (Intelligence), Govt. of West Bengal
63. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI
64. A. Selvaraj IRS (Retd.) Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI
65. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal
66. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI
67. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan
68. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFoS (Retd.) Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat
69. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia
70. Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia
71. Raju Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Board of Revenue, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh
72. Avay Shukla IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary (Forests & Technical Education), Govt. of Himachal Pradesh
73. Sujatha Singh IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary, GoI
74. Tirlochan Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, GoI
75. A.K. Srivastava IAS (Retd.) Former Administrative Member, Madhya Pradesh Administrative Tribunal
76. Parveen Talha IRS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission
77. Anup Thakur IAS (Retd.) Former Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
78. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission
79. Geetha Thoopal IRAS (Retd.) Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata
80. Jawed Usmani IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh & former Chief Information Commissioner, Uttar Pradesh
81. Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra
82. Rudi Warjri IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica




  1. Many thanks for forwarding the letter of the CCG to the President of India. It is a timely letter that powerfully encapsulates the Constitutional scheme of things and the stakes involved in civil governance. I wholly endorse the sentiments expressed therein. Kind regards. Lionel Fernandes


  2. KV Singh

    The fraternity of IAS & IPS still behave as if they are serving for the British Raj. Several forms still read ” seva mein “. Whose seva are we talking about. In fact the IAS & IPS should start writing ” Aap Ke Seva Mein ” to the public they are meant to serve. Let that be the beginning.
    KV Singh


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s