New Delhi: One line in a Supreme Court judgment, which mainly focuses on granting better pay to the armed police forces, has become the bone of contention between officers of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).
The confusion stems from a February 2019 ruling, in which the Supreme Court said the “grant of status of Group ‘A’ Central Services to RPF (Railway Police Force) shall not affect (the deputation of) the IPS”.
The RPF does not fall under the CAPFs. Hence, CAPF officers are taking it at face value to mean that the court order is only limited to the RPF and that their forces will now be headed by their own officers.
The CAPFs include the CRPF, CISF, BSF, SSB, ITBP and NSG.
IPS officers, on the other hand, are interpreting the line to mean that their deputation will continue in the CAPFs despite the grant of organised service status to these forces. Since the order says that the deputation of IPS will continue in the RPF, the IPS officers believe that the omission of the word CAPF in the judgment is “a human error”.
Seeking clarity on the issue, the IPS Association has already filed a clarificatory plea in the Supreme Court. The CAPFs, meanwhile, are seeking prompt implementation of the order.
“The judgment is clear and has a limited purpose of granting NFFU to CAPFs,” said a retired Major of the army who now specialises in legal issues involving the security forces.
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“But both sides are at loggerheads over hypertechnical issues…The judgment is about all CAPFs and not just the RPF, so it obviously means that the deputation of IPS officers will continue in these forces.”
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had ruled that all CAPFs would be granted better pay benefits or Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU), and the status of Organised Group ‘A’ Services (OGAS), ending a nearly decade-long battle for the central armed police.
What IPS officers are saying
According to a senior IPS officer who was also a member of the IPS Association, the grant of status of Organised Group A Services (OGAS) does not necessarily mean that the service has become a closed one.
“In fact, the judgment was very clear that NFFU can be given only if a service has organised status, and for that limited purpose, OGAS has been given to CAPFs,” the officer said.
“We are not against granting these officers their due in terms of NFFU, but our limited contention is that the deputation of IPS officers cannot be stopped in these forces.”
According to this IPS officer, because the court in its judgment “mistakenly” wrote RPF instead of CAPF, this confusion has ensued, and this is why the IPS Association has filed a clarificatory plea in the SC.
While the CAPFs insist that their recruitment rules (RRs) should be revised in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment granting them OGAS, IPS officers believe this is not necessary.
“NFFU can be granted on the basis of existing RRs… Any service is granted NFFU on the basis of existing RRs, your RRs cannot be changed to grant you NFFU,” the officer contended.
Several CAPF officers have written letters to the home minister to highlight their concerns and allege foul play by their IPS superiors. But calling these developments “a useless confusion”, the officer said the deputation of IPS officers in these forces is in “national interest”.
“Wherever CAPFs are deployed, they work under the local police. They cannot operate on their own,” he said. “So it is logical that they are headed by IPS officers… It ensures that they have a policing approach and not a militaristic approach towards security situations within the country.”
If the right of IPS officers to be deputed centrally is taken away from them, their All India Service status would be made redundant, the officer said.
The concerns of the CAPFs
CAPF officers, however, argue that without revising the RRs of the services, the grant of NFFU would mean nothing.
“The existing RRs are stacked against the CAPF officers… Granting NFFU on the basis of these RRs would mean nothing,” a serving Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer said.
In a letter written to Home Minister Amit Shah, a serving CRPF officer wrote: “As per norms of OGAS all the posts up to the rank of ADG must be filled by cadre officers. But as per Recruitment Rules – 2010 of CRPF officers, which is in vogue, 20 per cent posts of DIG and 50 per cent post of IG are being filled through deputation, i.e., by IPS officers.
“Out of four posts of ADG and four posts of SDG, only one post of ADG is being filled up by cadre officer. The only post of DG is being filled up by IPS officer on deputation,” the letter stated.
“Unless fresh cadre review is undertaken by amending the RR at par with RRs of other OGAS… the cadre officers of CAPF are not going to get the benefits and the intention of your government, as well as the spirit of the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, would remain unfilled.”
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