Why is Govt Still Denying Central Paramilitary Forces Its Rights?

By denying rights to CPMF officers, govt is playing into the hands of IPS officers and ignoring CPMF cadres’ stress.

Published
Opinion
5 min read
Image of an Indian paramilitary soldier in Kashmir used for representational purposes.
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The relations between the senior and junior leadership in the central paramilitary forces (CPMF), which never were anything beyond formal, have reached a breaking point – over the denial of legitimate dues of these officers by the government, at behest of IPS officers who occupy all policy-level positions in these forces.

Constrained by strict rules and unable to form a representative body or association, the CPMF officers have taken to social media to air their grievances to the government. Hashtags like #StepSoldier, #OGASForCAPF, #JusticeForCAPF, #IPSGoBack, have sprung up. The extent of manipulation can be assessed from the fact that in the Border Security Force (BSF), a couple of officers officially declined to be associated with the proceedings that were being prepared, because they were being compelled to sign on the dotted line.

Denial of Rights to CPMF Cadres by the IPS Officers

The chasm emanates from the non-implementation of the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court orders regarding the grant of Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) to the CPMF cadre officers, even after court-recognition of these services as ‘Organised Services’ since 1986.

The ‘deviousness’ of IPS officers as an interest group, in denying the rightful dues of CPMF cadre officers, is a fit case study on mismanagement of personnel matters in large organisations.

They, who have the responsibility of ensuring satisfactory career progression for CPMF officers, are actually bent on impeding it through the use of every trick up their sleeves or “saam daam, dand, bhed” as it is called in Hindi.

Intransience of this vested group has led the simple demand of CPMF officers go through complicated twists and turns over the last ten years. The IPS association, driven by its parochial vested interest, is unable to see the writing on the wall, and has constantly endeavoured to divert and give new dimensions to the issue.

CPMF Cadres’ Demands & Chronology of Events

It is necessary to give a chronological summary of events leading to this sorry state of affairs.

The initial request of CPMF officers was merely for pay parity with the central services, including IPS. The request was based on the government’s own records, which established beyond doubt that these services were ‘organised services’, and thus, eligible for benefit of the NFFU. These benefits were being drawn by all the services in the central government including the IPS since almost a decade ago. This request was rejected outrightly at the first stage itself by the director generals (needless to say – IPS officers) of these forces.

Thereafter, the request of CPMF officers to the Ministry of Home Affairs was also rejected at the behest of IPS officers on specious grounds that these services were not ‘organised’ services because they did not fulfil all the attributes of an organised service, even though their own records from 1986 onwards explicitly declared that these services were ‘organised’ services.

The only attribute that these services did not meet was that all posts from the entry level upto joint secretary level were not filled through promotion, since the recruitment rules provided for deputation of IPS officers.

This surely could not have been a ground for denial of the NFFU, because it is the government which had mandated the deputation, and the cadres of CPMF had no role in this.

What Led CPMF Officers to Approach Delhi High Court

The grant of ‘organised’ status thus implied that fresh ‘service rules’ will have to be framed, where after the deputation of IPS officers up to the level of IG would stop. The prospect of losing their control over these forces has rattled the IPS association, which has resorted to manipulating the system to the detriment of the CPMF officers.

Left with no alternative after the rejection of their requests, the CPMF officers approached the Delhi High Court in 2012. Even while the proceedings in the High Court were pending, the IPS officers, in ‘cahoots’ with bureaucrats, shifted the goal post through a fresh memorandum – adding new attributes to the earlier ones defining ‘organised service’. However, the court saw through this and directed the government to immediately extend all benefits of the NFFU and ‘organised service’ status to CPMF officers.

The government was joined by the IPS association in challenging the order of the Delhi High Court in the Supreme Court.

The IPS officers, who were thus far holding the reins from behind the curtains, now came to the fore, but the Supreme Court rejected their plea outrightly stating that they had no locus standi in the matter. The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court order in February this year, and directed the government to implement them within three months.

Why Haven’t CPMF Cadres Received Benefits Yet Despite Court Orders?

However, the orders have not been implemented so far. Neither have fresh service rules been framed nor financial benefits extended. The court orders have been interpreted in such a manner that the benefits have been truncated. The crucial aspect of the NFFU scheme, that the officers of all other organised services will be given the pay scale equivalent to that of the IAS batch two years junior to them, has been ignored while ‘implementing’ the order. Even this partial benefit has been extended only to the petitioners, thus denying the benefit to almost 90 percent of about 20,000 serving and retired officers out of the scheme.

The IPS association, even after proclamation of the Supreme Court orders, went in for a clarification petition, trying to obtain a favourable order for their continued deputation.

However, the Supreme Court has disallowed their plea on grounds that the matter of deputation was never before them, and that the right to deputation will be in accordance with the principles of ‘organised service’.

The orders thus are clear that the NFFU has to be granted to the officers of the CPMF in the similar manner as extended to other services. Further, fresh service rules have to be framed clearly, stating that all posts upto the level of IG will be filled by the promotion of cadre officers as per attributes of an organised service.

By not extending these benefits to the cadres of CPMF the government is not only committing contempt of court, but also not living up to its stated policy of reducing litigation.

Further, by depriving CPMF officers of their rights, the government is playing into the hands of IPS officers and ignoring serious signs of stress in the leadership of these forces which have a uniquely important place in the security matrix of India.

(The writer retired from the BSF as additional director-general. He tweets @sood_2. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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