HomeBureaucracyCabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla term listed to...

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla term listed to end next month, doubts over third extension after SC verdict on ED director

By Vivek Shukla

Country's top two bureaucrats – cabinet secretary and home secretary Ajay Bhalla – who are on extension beyond their regular services, are unlikely to get third time lucky. They have got twice the extension of one year each after their superannuation in 2021. Modi government would like to continue with their services and give them one year extension third time keeping in view the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024. Both the positions are crucial for conducting parliamentary elections. However, doubts have been raised over their extension after Supreme Court termed the third extension of ED S K Mishra illegal.

Mishra, a 1984 batch Revenue Service officer was first appointed the ED director for two years on November 19, 2018. Later, by an order dated November 13, 2020, the Central government modified the appointment letter retrospectively and his two-year term was changed to three years. Thereafter he got three extensions of one year each after his superannuation in November 2021.

Similarly, Rajiv Gauba, a 1982 batch cadre , was made cabinet secretary in August 2019 replacing P K Sinha. His regular term ended in 2021. Thereafter he got two extensions of one year each in Modi government.

Bhalla, a 1984 Assam-Meghalaya cadre IAS officer succeeded Gauba in August 2019 when he (Gauba) was made cabinet secretary. Like Gauba, Bhalla also has been among the favourite officers of Modi government and has got two extensions of each year each to his regular service.
“Both Gauba and Bhalla are dynamic officers and deserve a third extension. But in view of SC ruling over ED director extension, people are skeptical this time. Considering the unblemished record of these two officers, Modi government would definitely like to utilize their services in one or the other way in the election year,” said a senior bureaucrat.

The BuckStopper Reporter
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The BuckStopper, run by a group of seasoned journalists, holds the powerful accountable. The buck stops with them, as they cannot shrug off their official responsibilities.
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