and the maintenance of records. Leave aside reiterating what the All India Service (Conduct) Rules have stated since 1968, that superiors must reduce verbal orders into writing and that civil servants should seek confirmation of oral orders, the court gave no direction on an issue on which the PIL had expressly sought direction: to make it obligatory for informal requests made by influential people and power brokers to be brought on record. An order to this effect would have helped enormously.
At root, the greed, dishonesty and political brinkmanship of an expanding group of civil servants are responsible for the quagmire that now substitutes for governance. As one petitioner put it, “If our brethren had not colluded with erring politicians, things would not have come to this pass.” The recent Supreme Court order will not alter the situation dramatically. For now, the battle has been won, but the war is far from over.
The writer is a former secretary to the government of India and former chief secretary, Delhi