IAS As Legal Experts

Updated: Nov 7 2003, 05:30am hrs
Please refer to the news item ‘Judge may be CCI chief’ (Nov 6). But for the timely action and intervention by the apex court, the government, entirely goaded by and at the behest of the IAS, had almost gone ahead with its design of elevating the IAS to the level of a chief justice/judge of the high courts/Supreme Court. It is strange that the omniscient IAS, unlike the officers performing quasi-judicial functions as creatures of certain Acts of Parliament, and having absolutely no practical experience of and expertise in actually administering any statute, should even have advised the government to take this dangerous step.
The government failed to consider the fact that, unlike the officers of the income-tax department (ie, Indian Revenue Service), the IAS indeed do not, day in and day out, deal with and handle on their own, without any outside advice, legal problems and challenges and that too within a framework of judicial discipline and time-limits and principles of natural justice. Many of the decisions of the Supreme Court on tax laws are in fact the result of the decisions taken by income-tax officers who, of course, are not civil servants and equivalent to the secretariat officials. No wonder, attempts are reportedly on to replace the Central Board of Customs and Income-Tax with the IAS who claim to be experts on law also, ignoring the fact that ITOs have been acknowledged by the apex court as quasi-judicial officers and are specialists in their field, as compared to the vast population of generalists, the IAS.
Natabar Dey