The Kerala government has written to the Centre for the service of senior IAS office VP Joy to fill the post of Chief Secretary as the incumbent Vishwas Mehta is set to retire on February. This is unorthodox seeing how in most situations, the next senior officer currently employed in the state would replace the Chief Secretary.
Currently, the second-in-command is Additional Chief Secretary TK Jose an 1988 batch officer, who handles Home, Vigilance, Water Resources, and Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation. Interestingly, the government’s go-to person would be Sanjay Kaul, who is much junior to Jose. In the recent political scenarios, the LDF government had initiated many investigations against the opposition leaders and they have used Sanjay’s authority as the Secretary to Home in the matter instead of Jose, who is the official person for the job.
According to sources, Jose has been unwilling to give permission to the controversial investigations, and thus the government had to find a workaround. Moreover, with Vishwas Mehta leaving, and Jose naturally ascending to the post, the government might have a tough road ahead, especially since elections are around the corner. They would need all the support they can get.
However, VP Joy would not be an unnatural candidate as he is the senior-most officer from the Kerala cadre and is a Secretary rank officer in Centre with two more years of service left. Reportedly, he preferred an independent position within the Central offices, but this might be an offer he cannot refuse.
VP Joy, a noted poet, and writer is a 1987 batch Kerala cadre officer and currently working as the Secretary ( Coordination), Cabinet Secretariate, New Delhi.