In reply to a query in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for personnel Jitendra Singh explained that “prior to (the) amendment, it was upto the concerned official to decide whether the published material falls in the prescribed prohibited categories or not”.
“In case, the official feels that the material he is going to publish does not fall in the prohibited category then he could publish the material without any prior approval of the government. Later on, in case government comes to a conclusion that the published material comes / falls under the category of prohibited material, a loss to the country would have already happened. To prevent such situations, the current amendment has been made,” he elaborated.
The amendment dated May 31, 2021, in Rule 8 of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 – pertaining to grave misconduct on part of a pensioner and action against such misconduct – that expanded the scope of restraint on retired intelligence officers did not lay down a time bar in terms of post-retirement applicability.
Any grave misconduct, if proven against the pensioner, can lead to his/her pension to be withheld or withdrawn, either in full or in part.
Singh on Thursday informed the Rajya Sabha that the stakeholders — intelligence and security organisations included in Second Schedule of RTI Act — were consulted through the administrative ministry/department prior to the amendments notified on May 31, 2021.
The revised pension rules — which many retired intelligence heads chose to slam as a “gag order” — appear to be aimed at checking incidents of retired intelligence officials, including those who have headed the organisations like Intelligence Bureau or RAW, spilling the beans on working of these agencies or even sensitive operations, in books that they author post-retirement. Some of these books have ended up creating controversies.