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Obsolete conventions

The stated rationale for the continued deputation of IPS officers to CAPF no longer holds relevance and runs contrary to several expert recommendations

Obsolete conventions
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The article, A Detrimental Debate published by Millennium Post on June 11, 2020, appears to be ghostwritten. The legal arguments put forth in the article are surely not of the author who is a lawmaker for the last six years and has been a law enforcer for over three and a half decades before that.

The claim that the Delhi High Court has no jurisdiction over matters relating to All India Services is strange in the least and may even be termed contemptuous of jurisdiction and authority of courts, especially when the judgment has been confirmed even by the Supreme Court.

The assertions also display a lack of confidence in the decision taken by the Cabinet to implement the Supreme Court orders and notify the Organised Service Status (OGAS) and Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) for the officer cadres of these forces.

It is a settled legal position that any Government policy can be challenged in courts on grounds of arbitrariness. The officers of Central Para Military Forces challenged the arbitrariness of the Government policy in not extending the benefits of OGAS and NFFU to them even though their records stated that these were organised services. The Court, after detailed pleadings, ruled against this arbitrary policy and declared them organised since 1986 with all consequential benefits.

The distress amongst officers of cadres of CAPF about the distorted implementation of these orders has driven them to file contempt petitions. The situation appears to have come to such a pass that actions required to be taken routinely are being deliberately not taken or delayed by the IPS leadership. The disdain that the IPS leaders have for cadre officers of CAPF is apparent from the fact that Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs) have not been held either in BSF or in CRPF this year even though these are required to be completed by December 31. Officers of CRPF had to go to court to get an order for the CRPF authorities to hold the DPCs within two months for promotion of officers.

Such devious acts by the IPS officers at the helm and in control of the entire policymaking authority in these forces have caused double jeopardy for the cadre officers. There is ab initio lack of promotional avenues which is further curtailed by the reservation of higher-level posts by deputationists from IPS. The problem is compounded by the inaction of these IPS leaders through deliberate inaction on routine matters as described above.

If the cadre officers have to approach courts for even minor issues, the morale of the cadre officers who lead the troops from front in critical operational situations is bound to be adversely affected.

The article is an attempt to advance the same stale arguments in support of perpetuating IPS hegemony. The first argument pertains to some imaginary constitutional arrangement. No one doubts the status of IPS as an 'All India Service', but the Constitution does not state that the IPS must come to CAPF. They can come to CAPF only based on rules framed under the provisions of respective acts of these forces. These statutes provide for deputation only at lower levels. Hence the recruitment rules providing for the appointment of IPS officers at higher levels are patently illegal and are under challenge in courts.

The second argument advanced to justify their continued domination of all senior posts in CAPF invokes historical reasons. Any organisation, especially a uniformed fighting force, when being raised needs experienced manpower which can work dedicatedly to mould the people with diverse experiences and convert the nascent organisation into a well-knit outfit. The fact that the IPS were at the helm of affairs when these forces were raised is not contested but this also is a fact that the core of these forces at the operational levels was formed by the released emergency commissioned officers and directly recruited officers. Thus, attempts of IPS fraternity to usurp the exclusive credit for raising these forces are overstretched.

The IPS citing historical reasons to perpetuate their hegemony is tantamount to the British justifying their continued rule over India on the premise that they (British) were the best rulers Indians could ever have and that Indians if given independence would ruin the country!

The principle of deputation as mandated by DOPT clearly states that deputation is resorted to in cases of isolated posts or for the posts for which expertise within the cadre is not available. Therefore, there is no rationale for continued deputation of IPS to these posts in CAPF because the posts are not isolated. Further, a large, trained and experienced cadre of CAPF officers is available to take up higher responsibilities. Hence, the deputation of IPS despite the availability of a large number of eligible officers has no rationale any longer. Further, the officers of CAPF are put through orientation training before promotion to each level and they are ready to take on any responsibility including command of these forces. The IPS officers not being familiar with the ground realities of these forces and thus, are unable to introduce any further value addition to the functioning of these forces.

Claims that the 'All India' character of IPS will get diluted if their deputation to CAPF is stopped is fallacious because they still will have many avenues available like the vigilance and security of many public sector companies where their expertise of investigation and policing will be useful.

The claims of CAPF cadre officers are not only supported by the highest court of law in India but also by several expert bodies which have advised discontinuation of deputation by IPS officers to these forces and giving a much larger role to the cadre officers in management and policy formulation for these forces. These include the Rajya Sabha Standing Committee Report-214 headed by Ex Home Minister of India P Chidambaram which expressly states in para 6.10.8 that the field of selection of Director Generals of CAPF should be expanded to include the CAPF officers. The Sixth Pay Commission (2005) had expressly recommended that all posts up to DIG should be held by the CAPF cadre officers besides 50 per cent of all posts of IG and above should also be held by CAPF Cadre officers. The report of IIM Kolkata in 1994 on the study of Management of BSF is another such expert report which recommends doing away with the deputation of IPS officers. However, most of these recommendations have been given a quiet burial with only a few recommendations being implemented.

Nothing can be far from the truth than the claim that the CAPF officers are recruited for middle management levels like the state police!! The CAPF cadres like the IPS are recruited through UPSC by a separate examination and join the service in the same pay grade as an IPS officer. Neither the recruitment rules nor any other document of Government supports the claim of the author.

Of course, the CAPF has to operate within the boundaries of the country and in that, within the boundary of a state. Where else would they operate? Being central forces, the three border guarding forces have their chain of command to which they report directly and not state police authorities. They have their Intelligence set up and rarely depend on state apparatus for it. The border guarding forces neither have the authority nor are responsible for detection and investigation of common crimes committed even within the border belt. They are responsible to prevent trans-border crimes, even for which they do not have the investigation powers. Similarly, the CISF is responsible for Industrial security and local police nowhere come in this chain of command.

The CRPF is designated as an internal security force and comes into picture when a 'situation goes beyond the control of local police'. The other four CAPF also are similarly deployed in aid to civil authorities and the operative part again is 'when the situation goes beyond the control of local police'. The chain of command even while in internal security doesn't involve local police.

As discussed above, the policy of deputation of IPS officers to CAPF is no longer beneficial either to these forces or the police. It is high time that the orders of courts are implemented in letter and spirit. Besides enhancing the morale of CAPF officers, it will enhance efficiency and thus national security. An additional benefit will be that of improving the law and order situation in states because the IPS officers released from these forces will be available to states for policing.

The writer is a Retired Additional Director General of Border Security Force and security analyst. Views expressed are personal

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