The Centre believes that a officer, though good, may not be efficient all the time, thereby forcing the government to adopt rules of compulsory retirement. In a DoPT-convened meeting of state principal secretaries in-charge of general administration, the Centre wants a freewheeling discussion on compulsory retirement and the rules therein. In the agenda paper circulated to all state chief secretaries, the DoPT says, “the order of compulsory retirement shall not be passed as a short cut to avoid departmental enquiry.” There are instances where officers facing departmental inquiries escape stringent punishment by managing voluntary retirement. “If the officer was given a promotion despite adverse entries made in the confidential record, that is a fact in favour of the officer,” the paper adds. It goes on to state, “There may be some officers who may possess a better initiative and higher standard of efficiency and if given a chance, the work of the government might show marked improvement. The rule merely seeks to strike a just balance between maintenance of efficacy in the diverse activities of State administration and cessation of the completed career of an officer whose integrity is doubtful and his services are no longer useful to the administration and public.” The rule being talked about here is 16(3) of the All India Services (Death-cum Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, under which service records of All India Services officers are maintained. The government has, however, made it clear that the order of premature retirement can be passed only after taking into account the entire service record of the officer. What action the DoPT has formulated, will be known soon. Wait and watch.