The bureaucracy must be allowed to function independent of the political establishment. Only an independent bureaucracy can render the rule of law. The performance, character and role of the bureaucracy depends on the social and political scenario around it. Officers remain as honest, upright and efficient, as the society around them or as their political masters want them to be.
The rule of law requires every government official to comply with the law at all times. Every executive action must have legal authorization and no decision can contravene or violate a legal restriction. Political interference, in the day-to-day administration is not permissible neither acceptable.
A perusal today of the file notings of some senior officers reflects that they have just surrendered to the political establishment. Some officers, knowing that it is an exercise in futility, simply pass files up the ladder without any comments.
Officers need to be encouraged to give their free and frank opinion. They should be at liberty to work out details and implement their decisions. The political and administrative wings of the Government together should pursue the path of progress by accommodating diverse viewpoints and interests without bias.
We have witnessed many IAS and IPS officers who have been sent packing overnight for not bowing down to politicians in power. One can understand the suffering and agony that such officers go through due to these abrupt transfers. The trauma these officers endure should however not be in vain. It should only strengthen and solidify the resolve of their peers to strengthen the system towards sanity. This determination and courage will have to emanate and flow from the top across every layer of the administration.