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IPS officers are invoking imaginary constitutional provisions to buttress their continued deputation to Central Armed Police Forces.

Many IPS officers have severely criticised the P. Chidambaram-led parliamentary panel’s recommendation to end the dominance of the service in the Central Armed Police Forces.

But the report is absolutely right in rejecting the justification for deputation of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to the top positions in paramilitary forces, now known as the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), since the latter have a large specialised cadre of officers.

IPS officers argue that they view conflict scenarios from a ‘human rights’ angle and that such a recommendation is against constitutional mandate.

Both these arguments, however, are based on fallacious premises.

The parliamentary panel report clearly mentions that deputation must be resorted to only when an experienced pool of officers is not available to man a position. CAPF officers have sufficient experience and maturity to man supervisory and policy-level posts. They perform specialised tasks and their experience – gained through years in the field service – must not be allowed to go waste.

Cadre officers have much better insight when it comes to the psyche of the troops they command and the operational philosophy and ethos, which is more beneficial in policy formulation.

How IPS entered CAPF

IPS officers are invoking imaginary constitutional provisions to buttress their continued deputation while the Constitution nowhere provides for their mandatory induction into the CAPF.

Yes, the All India Services, which includes the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the IPS and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), provides personnel to both state and central posts. But, their deputation should be limited to ex-cadre posts.

These posts are not part of a particular cadre and lack an adequate pool of trained officers.

When the paramilitary forces were raised, they drew officers and other staff from several organisations including the Army Police. Gradually, the deputation from all other organisations except the IPS stopped. Even IPS officers don’t prefer the operational levels where life is difficult.


Also read: Why IPS officers want to keep heading forces like CRPF, NSG & BSF


Why parliamentary panel is right

The continued deputation and permanent reservation of higher supervisory and policy-level posts for the IPS is violative of constitutional principles because it denies the cadre officers the right to be considered in spite of their obvious merit and experience in performing specialised tasks.

Contrast this with IPS officers who are trained at policing – they do not understand the nuances of border management. Not having served at operational levels, they are not familiar with the operational philosophy and ethos of the CAPF. They treat the CAPF as police and draft policies that are unsuitable for these forces.

The parliamentary panel’s report too has highlighted the difference in the roles of the CAPF and the police, and recommended limiting deputation to a maximum of 25 per cent in any rank.

It also recommends that cadre officers should also be considered for the posts of Director General (DG) not just to boost the forces’ morale but also to widen the selection pool.

By criticising the report, IPS officers are undermining the meticulous work done by the parliamentary panel, which is headed by a former home minister who closely supervised the CAPF’s functioning.

The hard reality

IPS officers directly join the CAPF at senior levels of DIG and above. With no knowledge of the tasks required to be performed, they look for a cushy administrative job at the headquarters. Most IPS deputation posts of Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs) rank lie vacant despite the officers being assured of home state postings.

However, posts above this level reserved for them are invariably filled because these are mainly located in prominent towns.

In the absence of operational insight, the focus of these IPS officers remains limited to the administration and improvement of the headquarters rather than border outposts or company bases. This is evident from the dismal state of accommodation provided to troops.


Also read: Why Niti Aayog’s suggestion to cut IAS, IPS entry age limit is unlikely to make headway


Human rights’ record

The argument that IPS officers ‘bring the concept of human rights‘ and are therefore more suited to lead the CAPF misses crucial facts.

For instance, Border Security Force (BSF) officers are commanding the headquarters that are at the forefront of anti-Maoist operations.

During the Punjab militancy too, BSF-cadre officers were part of the operations. Operations in militancy and insurgency-hit districts are being commanded by CAPF-cadre officers who are on deputation as SP (Operations).

Given that the CAPF is leading operations in conflict-prone zones, the human rights record of the formations commanded by cadre officers is equally good if not better than that of the IPS officers.

Given the present-day reality, it is high time the government implemented the parliamentary committee recommendations, ending the ‘hegemony’ of the IPS officers over top CAPF posts.

This will afford India the twin advantage of resolving the problem of perpetual shortage of IPS officers across states, and improve law and order-which is in a dismal condition in many states-besides improving the the CAPF’s performance.

The author is a retired additional director general of Border Security Force.

The article has been updated to reflect that IFS stands for Indian Forest Service.

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18 Comments Share Your Views

18 COMMENTS

  1. Actually self interest comes first as a basic human instinct. Now what brings clarity why only cadre officers should be tasked to lead are the following reasons-
    1. ‘belongingness’ – IPS officers have only low, temporary sense of belonging with very high sense of self interest in personal agenda attached with postings at Metro cities. More IPS seeking CSF than other CAPFs at Commandant level is a glaring example. And most of Ips at Commandant or DIG level coming in CAPF from cadres not being ‘suitable’ either because of geographical locations like North East, or because of not suitable linguistic reasons like IPS of North having a South Cadre etc coming to CAPF is another example.The sense of belonging is seed of everything else like concern about growth of CAPF, concern about career progression of jawan n officers, creating a perfect organizational culture of the CAPF. Just because of IPS deputation the CAPFs can never match the organizational culture, camaraderie of armed forces where there is no deputation is allowed from outside. In CAPFs rather now a days there is a high amount of no culture and things move in all haphazard directions as per varied personal experience and skills of temporary leaders.
    2. Experience- the knowledge gained by cadre officers due to sheer amount of knowledge into nitty gritty of the CAPF can NEVER be matched by deputation IPS.
    3. Pride- An IPS officer having a constant pride of clearing a tougher exam has mostly dwindle between choice of serving

  2. Alas, if only all our AIS and Bureaucracy could rise beyond the scope of self preservation, this Country would have no parallels in Progress & Professionalism…

  3. .Post of the IAS IPS officers take up deputation to avoid less lucrative appointment or hide or delay inquiry in parent department. They only want senior levels with financial powers, to earn by curruption. 90% Civil servants of India from Municipality to Central Govt take Bribe. The reason for poor implementation and leakage of funds is Currupt Govt Servants. Ti.e the politicians act,other wise India is hearing for civil Strife’s and lawlessness by educated unemployed harassed youth

  4. The truth is somewhere in the middle. In most of the internal security challenges, the lead has been taken by state police forces , and successes have been achieved only when state police has done well, examples include Greyhounds of andhra-telangana , counter-insurgency operations of Tripura, Meghalaya, etc. The lead in most cases have been taken by young IPS Officers. Similarly in riots its mostly the the SP and ASPs who lead on ground and CAPFs provide valuable assistance. The IPS Training has undergone rigorous changes in recent times and outdoor and Fieldcraft and Tactics are the focus areas. However, IPS Officers like CAPF Officers include an entire spectrum of differing abilities and interests. Care should be taken that only suitable IPS Officers are sent to CAPFs and ample opportunities should be given to CAPF Officers for career growth. Further, career prospects of not only GOs but SOs and constables should also be given necessary focus. Unnecessary fighting will weaken organisations and adversely impact internal security

  5. Yes Mr Sujeet..writer is very much obsessed with prejudice because he had served the elite force for more than 35 years. He led and commanded the troops from the front and not from the Hqrs at Lodhi road.He is well trained like other cadre officers for battle craft and field craft and obviously not thana court Kachahri craft and hence never let down the force and the great nation while he was in field.Today the high flying officer is writing facts which is for the betterment of elite forces otherwise in the name of “human touch”discipline of these forces will come down to the level of state armed police and finally at the level of home Gaurds. Cadre officers will certainly not let these forces to become second class army or inferior police.
    Let me very clear that I am not questioning the ability of IPS officers but the bitter reality is that IPS officers are neither trained nor get exposure to lead these combat forces.They are trained to lead civil police and they are exceptionally good over there but it’s a known fact that CAPF/Paramilitary is never a first choice/love for IPS officers.If someone wants to check the enthusiasm of IPS officers for these forces plz check the place of postings of these officers posted in various CAPFs. How many IPS DIGs/IGs posted in sensitive and remote areas like Leh,Itanagar,Agartala,Silchar,Imphal ,Srinagar ,Dantewada etc etc and if no then why formations in such locations are only in the leadership of cadre DIGs/IGs. Are they born to be posted only in X class cities?What is their justifications for not showing interest to join these forces as DIG and below gazatted ranks, where they may have real exposure and toughness of field postings and if they join these forces in the ranks of Asst Comdt, Deputy Comdt and Comdt they can also develop bonding with the troops. Ultimately bonding is very essential to command and control the troops posted in insurgey affected areas and IB/LoC/LAC along with Pak & China.

    Again what is their say about posting without any training of field craft and battle craft and other tactics courses.Are they in position to deploy troops in war zone if situation arises since CAPFs specially BSF and ITBP will fight from the front during hot war under the ops control of Army.
    In the name of co-ordination tomorrow will they ask to lead army as well because today army is not only preparing itself for war but also it is actively deployed in J&K and North East counter insurgey ops.
    Correct me if I am wrong.This is the era of specialisation and specialized officers must be given opportunity to lead the organizations. Recommendations of Mr Chidambram(ex HM) led parliamentary panel must be implemented without any delay and reluctance in the national interest.

  6. This case was discussed threadbare by Guwahati HC and I think CAPF officers lost it to the extent that HC was about to penalise by charging cost. SC, after initial hearing, didnt even list the case. Now these officers have gone to media and are creating a false impression that bcos of IPS officers their cadre officers are not getting promotion chances. This is factually incorrect as IPS officers do not cover the entire gamut of the posts in CAPFs. IPS officer serves only on few, fixed posts. Secondly, IPS officers never argued about the human rights angle, although it is also true. Let’s not discuss the track record of CRPF in J&K or in tribal areas of Jhk, Chhat etc.
    Reason for an IPS officer as natural choice for the DG post is that as Police officers they know how to manage manpower, how to handle law and order situation in a civilian environment (remember that Police forces, albeit Paramilitary, are different from Armed Forces), they have been manning and guarding the inter-state and international borders regularly. We must not forget that ultimately the CAPFs have to function in a federal setup where state govts are equal stakeholders. IPS officers, having worked in states, bring that experience while working in the CAPFs.
    Talking of the hardships faced in the field, one must not forget that it is the district SP who plans and decides the anti-insurgency operations. SP has the direct and first responsibility of managing a district, be it a border area or an insurgency affected district. It is the local Police led by the SP that goes regularly into the forests, meets tribal poulace and works there. SP HAS A DIRECT STAKE HERE. DG of a CAPF, being an IPS officer, understands the ground realities of the states where the force is deployed. He can directly act as a friend, philosopher and guide to the SP.
    Also, posting of IPS officers at Commandant level is basically opposed by none other than few CAPF cadre officers.
    Talking of specialisation, was BSF meant for combating anti-insurgency? It is a matter of debate but there must be someone who has an appreciation of the different roles. This is where IPS officers comes in handy being in the only non-technical, specialised AIS.

    We must not forget that ultimately, CAPFs are “Police Forces”, not defence forces. They can not and should not be designed on the lines of defence forces as they have to regularly function in a federal setup and dea with civilians on a daily basis.

  7. Yes Mr Sujeet..writer is very much obsessed with prejudice because he had served the elite force for more than 35 years. He led and commanded the troops from the front and not from the Hqrs at Lodhi road.He is well trained like other cadre officers in battle craft and field craft and obviously not thana court Kachahri craft hence, he never let down the force and the great nation while he was in field.Today the high flying officer is writing facts which is for the betterment of elite forces otherwise in the name of “human touch”discipline of these forces will come down to the level of state armed police and finally at the level of home Gaurds. Cadre officers will certainly not let these forces to become second class army or inferior police.
    Let me very clear that nobody is questioning the ability of IPS officers but the bitter reality is that IPS officers are neither trained nor get exposure to lead these combat forces in real sense.They are trained to lead civil police and they are exceptionally good over there but it’s also a known fact that CAPF/Paramilitary is never a first choice/love for IPS officers.If someone wants to check the enthusiasm of IPS officers for these forces plz check the place of postings of these officers posted in various CAPFs. How many IPS DIGs/IGs posted in sensitive and remote areas like Leh,Itanagar,Agartala,Silchar,Imphal ,Srinagar ,Dantewada etc etc and if no then why formations in such locations are only in the leadership of cadre DIGs/IGs. Are they born to be posted only in X class cities?What is their justifications for not showing interest to join these forces as DIG and below gazatted ranks, where they may have real exposure and toughness of field postings and also if they join these forces in the ranks of Asst Comdt, Deputy Comdt and Comdt they can develop bonding with the troops. Ultimately bonding is very essential to command and control the troops posted in insurgey affected areas and IB/LoC/LAC along with Pak & China.

    Again what is their say about posting without any training of field craft and battle craft and other combat tactics.Are they in position to deploy troops in war zone if situation arises since CAPFs specially BSF and ITBP will fight from the front during hot war under the ops control of Army.
    In the name of co-ordination tomorrow will they ask to lead army as well because today army is not only preparing itself for war but also it is actively deployed in J&K and North East counter insurgey ops.
    Correct me if I am wrong.This is the era of specialisation and specialized officers must be given opportunity to lead the organizations. Recommendations of Mr Chidambram(ex HM) led parliamentary panel must be implemented without any delay and reluctance in the national interest.

  8. I agree. The top most rank should be given to the cadre officers who have given their life and everything to CAPF. They have served since starting, they are more experienced than any IPS officer. So, definitely removing of IPS officers from top posts is a correct decision by the board. This will motivate the cadre officers to do well and the troops will also be motivated as their own cadre officers will be at the top level.

  9. All the central forces are by themselves self-centred and always conscious of their promotions only. Once upon a time, these cadres had integrity and honesty. But after the fall of honesty levels of all politicians and corruption crept into the politics, both IAS and IPS officers started dancing to the tune of politicians to gain undue favours. Thus, the force lost its shine and deteriorated into a corrupt force.

  10. The author, I am afraid, does not reflect correct knowledge of the relevant constitutional provisions. It is a fact that the entire territorial area of the country is policed by the state police manned by state and IPS officers for the maintenance of duties mandated under the constitution. All land and premises, including those belonging to the Union Government, are under the jurisdiction of the state police in accordance with the extant constitutional provisions. The CAPFs were raised primarily for the international border guarding functions, falling under the Union List subjects, as the international convention on IB guarding bars deployment of military forces for that purpose till open hostilities break up. The role as aid to the state administration has evolved gradually, and has beenm on payment basis,i.e the states who seek detachment of CAPFs are obliged to pay for the expenses of the detachment calculated very meticulously by the Central Accounting office(s). So is the case with the deployment of military detachment being pressed in aid of civil administration of the states. It has been the experience, dating back to pre-independence days, that CAPFs are better placed to handle their assigned roles provided under the extant statutes, if they are able to forge close coordination and cooperation with the state police and civil authorities. Hence the provision for IPS officers for limited period deputation to the CAPFs and other CPOS has been incorporated in the law. It has been the experience that the IPS officers on fixed term deputation perform professionally at standard that is no less than that of the cadre officers of the CAPFs. They can as well be repatriated to the parent state before completion of their fixed tenure if their performance is found below expected standard. However, no such recourse is available in respect of the cadre officers found in analogous situations. The spirit of constitution is based on cooperative federalism, and that is best accomplished such institutional arrangements. Therefore, in the larger national interest of national and internal security it is imperative that the time tested arrangement of manning of CAPFs by the optimum mix of the cadre and IPS officers is strengthened further rather dismantled.

  11. The writer is totally obsessed with prejudice against IPS officer. No surprise that many of Army and CAPF officers do so, due to certain reasons. Before going into details let me make it clear first that no IPS officer is a fool to cite a wrong section of Indian constitution.If a CAPF officer is thinking that he is learned enough to know the constitution better… My request to them is ,not to underestimate others, just to keep your point.

    IPS officers are Leading a force not by charity… It is due to their sheer capabilities and provisions of law. As per constitution ,AIS officers are to head different departments under MHA. Like an IAS officer is heading Reserve Bank of India and various others are heading various wings like space, defence, technology,industry etc. IPS officers are heading various forces and wings as per the mandate.
    So massage is very clear here that purpose is to establish the coordination and implementation of the policies of central govt. Without any prejudice. Yess experience do matter so every IPS officer should be sent to deputation to CAPFs at commandant level first to gain the experience and a quota for them at that level should be secured by law.

    And let me clear to my fellow writer that CAPFs are also police.Pls refer the Indian Police Act.CAPFs and various investigation wings like CBI,NIA or ED are diffrenrent form of centre Police only ,just the criteria of formation and operational system are different.

    And Pls don’t underestimate the contribution of IPS officers in raising and shaping the CAPFs.IPS officers are very much part of the CAPFs right from it’s formations so they have all the legal and moral rights to join the force and head the force.

    Just beacuse you are not an IPS officer Pls don’t put illogical facts against them. I agree that CAPF officers should be given chance to head the force .I respect their experience and capabilities . They are an asset to the Indian Police. A criteria should be set to induct them into IPS like state cadre Police officers and be made DG as per the seniority of batch. At the same time only those IPS officers should be made DGs of CAPFs,who has served at least five years in CAPFs in various capacities earlier.

    • Dear there is wrong perception, seems from ur long comment, that Mr Sood is criticising IPS on constitutional domain ONLY. There are various interpretation to the same statement, this is quality of our constitution, that makes it ever growing and changing with changing need of time.
      IPS officer have interpreated it for their own interests and CAPF officers arguing by presenting that statement for their own benefit.
      For ur information you should also be aware about the difficulties that cadre officer and personal are facing due to improper cadre review and policies designed from top. You very well know who is at the top in decision making.
      Why one should not be critical of IPS officer if they know that ongoing case in S.C has IPS as primary stakeholders and they have appealed against decision of Delhi HC.

    • I have served the CAPF and i know how much these IPS officers know about border operations. For them even a place like Dehradun is a tough posting.

  12. If the IPS officers had got real time combat and operational experience in CAPF they should be preferred. Without doing any operations in borders, how can they motivate the force.CAPF cadre officers r workung for the country selfless.they r playing combat role.The ips officers without proper knowledge how can they guide the force.They must deputed to commandant posts at SP level. Then only they could get experience in CAPF.

  13. All India services doesn’t include Foreign service. The three AIS are IAS, IPS and Indian Forest service.
    Indian foreign service is a central service.

  14. Police officers twist the facts as per their convenience even not agreeing to parliamentary committee headed by former home minister

    • Lets wlcm IPS officers as coy cdr like they start as ACP/ASP in states so they will be in position to give more human touch to these merciless forces.

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