The Government can withhold leave encashment to officers belonging to Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service or Indian Forest Service at the time of their retirement, if disciplinary or criminal proceedings are pending against them, a circular by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has said.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) or Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officers are called All India Service (AIS).

In a communication to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories, DoPT said: “In case of a member of Service who is under suspension or against whom disciplinary/criminal proceedings are pending at the time of retirement/superannuation, the authority competent to grant leave may withhold whole or part of leave encashment, if the authority feels a possibility of recovering money on conclusion of the proceedings.”

This is critical, as officers get post-retirement leave encashment equivalent to 300 days as a one-time settlement. Retirement is possible when an officer reaches the superannuation age ( 60 years), voluntary retirement before the age of superannuation or retired by the Government using power provided under 56(J) of Fundamental Rules.

The communication added that once the proceeding is concluded, the said officer will be eligible for the amount withheld after adjustment of government dues, if any. However, they will not get interest as the rule says, in the matter of delayed payment of leave encashment, it is noted that there is no provision for payment of interest or for fixing responsibility. Moreover, encashment of leave is a benefit granted under the Leave Rules, not a pensionary benefit.

Under AIS rules, in the case of retirement after attaining the superannuation, the Government suo-motu sanctions cash equivalent of leave salary in respect of earned leave and half pay leave, standing in his credit on the date on which he ceases to be member of the Service subject to a maximum of 300 days and pay the lumpsum as a one-time settlement. The cash equivalent will be equal to the leave salary plus the dearness allowance.

The same rule also said that a member of the service who has been permitted by the State Government to voluntarily retire from service while under suspension or who is retired by the Central Government in public interest while under suspension “shall be paid cash equivalent of leave salary in respect of the period of leave at his credit on the date of his retirement from service provided that in the opinion of the authority competent to order reinstatement the member of the service has been fully exonerated and the suspension was wholly unjustified.”

DoPT said that clarifications were sought regarding payment of leave encashment to officers under suspension or against whom the disciplinary/criminal proceedings were pending at the time of retirement or superannuation. Accordingly, the latest communication has brought in more clarity to the rule.