In India each state and some Union Territories have Chief Secretaries. Chief Secretary serves as head of all government staff in the state and is the Secretary of the State Cabinet of Ministers. The post of Chief Secretary is encadred within the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), meaning that only an IAS officer may hold this position. The Chief Secretary holds the same rank as a Secretary to the Government of India and the post falls within the “Apex Scale”. Other positions in this payscale are Additional or Special Chief Secretary and Special Secretary to the Government of India. By tradition the seniormost IAS officer of the state cadre is chosen as the Chief Secretary but in many cases this is not so. The Chief Secretary heads the Department of General Administration as well.
Chief Secretary is appointed by the Chief Minister and the Ministers. Importance of the CS can be seen in these landmark Supreme Court judgments. E.P. Royappa (1974) states that “The post of Chief Secretary is a highly sensitive post…[Chief Secretary is a] lynchpin in the administration and smooth functioning of the administration requires that there should be complete rapport and understanding between the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister. …” Similarly, Salil Sabhlok (2013) says: “it may be necessary for [the] Chief Minister of a State to appoint a ‘suitable’ person as a Chief Secretary or the Director General of Police…because both the State Government or the Chief Minister and the appointee share a similar vision of the administrative goals and requirements of the State. The underlying premise also is that the State Government or the Chief Minister has confidence that the appointee will deliver the goods, as it were, and both are administratively quite compatible with each other. If there is a loss of confidence or the compatibility comes to an end…”