Even as the police-population ratio remains severely below par in the country, and there is a shortfall of close to 16 per cent in the Indian Police Service (IPS) ranks, the government has told the Supreme Court that it does not want to induct IPS officers through the Limited Competitive Exams (LCE) any longer.
The government has submitted in its affidavit to the court that besides being in favour of scrapping the policy altogether, it also does not wish to take in those who have already cleared these exams. It has argued that their induction could lead to litigation from IPS officers recruited directly, as the current seniority structure will be destabilised. Besides, it contended, due to the delay in induction, LCE aspirants have become “older” and “will become a liability for the government”. The affidavit has come as a shock to approximately 240 aspirants from the armed forces and paramilitary forces who took the exams in 2012. Many of them argued the declaration of results were first delayed and now the whole scheme is being scuttled at the behest of the “IPS lobby”, which, they alleged, does not want their “elite service to be diluted”.
The LCE scheme was mooted by the UPA in 2009 based on the Kamal Kumar committee report and approved in 2010 in view of the massive shortfall – close to 25 per cent – envisaged in the IPS ranks in the coming years. The government allowed officers from the armed forces, central armed police forces (CAPF) and the state police to get lateral entry into IPS through LCE to bolster the numbers.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) held the exams in 2012 in which 240 candidates appeared. As many as 80 were to be selected through the exams envisaged for two straight years. The UPSC, however, held back the results on account of various litigation.
In response to a petition of the aspirants, the SC directed UPSC to declare the results on November 27, 2017. The Home Ministry intervened in the matter, saying that it had to take policy decision on the issue. On January 12 this year, the ministry filed an affidavit in the apex court saying it does not wish to take LCE aspirants into IPS.
The affidavit states: “…LCE candidates may claim seniority from… 2012. These officers will be recruited in 2018 and thus will claim seniority of 2018. …from 2012 till date, more than 650 direct recruit officers have been inducted into service. …LCE candidates will become senior to DRs (direct recruits)…without working as IPS for even a single day. This will entirely destabilise the criteria for fixation of seniority and create anomaly in the service and invite litigation.” The government also said that in five years since the exams were conducted, the aspirants have been promoted and their age profile has grown, some of them now even 40. “Thus we will be recruiting older lot in lieu of younger people. These LCE candidates are no longer suitable for appointment in IPS due to high age profile and will become liability for the government,” the affidavit stated.