The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought the response of the central government on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the government decision to recruit an additional 1,400 IPS officers through a special examination.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok, representing the government to produce the relevant records relating to the government’s decision on the issue by March 28.
The court’s order came on a PIL filed by Zakat Foundation of India, an NGO, alleging that despite serious objections from the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) which holds civil services examinations, the Home Ministry has decided to conduct the ‘Limited Competitive Examination’ (LCE) annually.
The petition stated: “The government amended IPS Rules and the Ministry of Home Affairs and the PMO have arbitrarily and unconstitutionally taken resort to a Limited Competitive Examination for recruitment of IPS officers rather than increasing the intake of IPS officers through normal course of Civil Services Exams conducted by UPSC.”
The NGO, which sought information through an RTI application, said: “LCE would be held annually and those persons shall be eligible to apply who have been serving for five years or more as major/captain level officers in Army/Navy/Airforce, or as deputy superintendent of police in a state/UT, or as Assistant Commandant in a central police organization.”
The petition said that the central government has decided that in addition to the normal annual intake of new officers in IPS, an additional number of 70 IPS officers shall be freshly recruited every year over the next seven years beginning from 2012 and such recruitment will be done through Limited Competitive Examination (LCE).
The petitioner referred to Sachar Committee recommendations, and said there are not more than 2.5 percent Muslims in the civil services including IPS. All the minorities taken together also constitute 7 percent in civil services while total minority share in the national population is 19 percent.
The lawyer pointed out: “But in the proposed feeder cadre, Muslims are less than one percent and all minorities 4 percent. Hence, through the LCE, the number of Muslims recruited will be either zero or just to be counted on fingertips.”
LCE violates the constitutional right to equality of opportunity in public employment guaranteed in article 16, said the petition.