Revenue and finance babus are not regimental, requiring uniforms and British-era salutes and parades
A rift has appeared and seems to be widening between Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers and those in customs and GST over protocol, involving guard of honour and salutes ‘demanded’ by IRS officers. Customs officers say that these rituals interfere with their duties of apprehending economic offenders, including smugglers and traffickers. Unlike the IPS and other armed forces, they argue, revenue and finance babus are not regimental, requiring uniforms and British-era salutes and parades.
Abhijat Srivastava, secretary of the Central Excise Inspectors Association, has criticised the move by senior officers overseeing the Mumbai customs and GST departments to train customs officers on modes of saluting, seating and walking behind IRS officers.
Apparently, this training was conducted recently at the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics Centre, Bhandup by additional DG (training) Rajiv Kapoor. Junior officers complained of unproductive hours wasted in training frontline officers on saluting, opening car doors, seating and walking three paces behind IRS officers, providing escort and protocol, giving right of way for IRS officers in elevators and escalators, wearing caps and snapping to attention when a senior IRS officer passes them.
Reportedly, senior IRS officers were upset with an incident report filed against IRS officers for abusing and manhandling on-duty junior officers at the Mumbai International Airport. Deputy Customs Commissioner, Air Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai Airport Customs, Manudev Jain had allegedly threatened and manhandled a junior officer for detaining a passenger with excess duty-free alcohol.
As of this reporting, there seems to be little effort to sort out this issue, but clearly quick action is required to soothe ruffled feathers.