, by DR SYED ZAFAR MAHMOOD
The Delhi High Court on Apr 11 once again reserved its verdict on the petition of Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) challenging the Central Government’s decision to select 490 IPS officers through a limited competitive examination (LCE). The well-known national level charitable NGO echoes the strong countrywide minority objection that the LCE kills their fundamental right under Article 16 that guarantees equality of opportunity in public employment. This is because in the limited eligibility pool the availability of all minorities grouped together is less than four per cent while their presence at the national level is 19 per cent.
The statistics of Muslims reflects much worse scenario. Their national presence is 13.4% while their availability in the limited eligibility pool of LCE is less than one per cent. Also, the LCE shows that the UPA Government is really not interested in implementing its own decision of 4.5% minority sub-quota in public services that was announced with fanfare on the eve of the assembly elections for UP and four other states held in Feb-March 2012. Subsequently, notification was issued by the Central Government’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) two days before the Election Commission’s code of conduct came into force.
Earlier, ZFI collected under RTI Act numerous detailed documents from the PMO, Personnel Ministry and Home Ministry. It found that the UPSC and more than half of the state governments and central police organisations had strongly disagreed with the LCE proposal. According to UPSC, there are one thousand candidates for each vacancy filled through its annual Civil Services Examination (CSE) while there would be only three candidates for each vacancy in LCE. Also there is existing acute shortage of middle level officers in the central police organisations. This was also stated by the MoS, Home in the Lok Sabha on Mar 8, 2012. The Law Ministry and National Police Academy too had expressed their apprehensions. The central IPS Officers Association has represented to the Home Minister against the LCE. Several state units of IPS Association have filed writ petitions.
The LCE advertisement published in Employment News on Mar 10, 2012 inviting online applications omits one vital information that is of basic relevance for the prospective applicants. The Record of Discussion which the Home Minister had, through which the UPSC was over-ruled, says in para 9(ii) that the IPS officers selected during ant year through LCE shall be placed in seniority below their counterparts selected in the same year through the CSE. Had the applicants known about this step-motherly treatment is to be meted out to them, many of them would have opted out.
[The writer is President, Zakat Foundation of India]