Predictably, Jayalalitha has cried foul, and even before replying to the Centre, has written to all chief ministers to lobby for support against such "arbitrary" transfers of all-India service officers. She also raised the question of the Centre using the rulebooks to bully state governments.
Going by the rules, however, the Centre is on a sure wicket. The proviso to Rule 6 of the ips Cadre Rules says if the "concurrence" of the state is not available, the Centre's word will prevail in such "deputation" transfers. Moreover, according to Rule 7 of All-India Service Rules (Discipline and Appeals), the Centre, if warranted, even has the authority to suspend an ips officer attached to a state. While no suspension orders have been served and the Centre has "elevated" the officers to the cabinet secretariat, it can be interpreted as an exercise of an honourable option as also a symbolic move to keep Karunanidhi and co happy.