HC asks Centre, Army Chief why Yadav cannot be President’s Bodyguard?

The petition, filed through advocate Ram Naresh Yadav, said the "preferential treatment" provided to the three castes has deprived other citizens, who were also eligible, of the opportunity of recruitment.

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HC asks Centre, Army Chief why Yadav cannot be President's Bodyguard?
President bodyguards during the Beating Retreat ceremony at Vijay chowk in New Delhi on Jan 29th 2016. Express photo by Ravi Kanojia.

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and the Chief of the Army Staff to respond on a plea alleging that only three castes were considered for recruitment to the President’s Bodyguard.

The court was hearing a PIL by Haryana resident Gaurav Yadav, who was discriminated and denied recruitment in President’s Bodyguard held on September 4, 2017 as only three castes — Jats, Rajputs and Jat Sikhs were invited for it.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Sanjeev Narula issued notice to the Ministry of Defence, Chief of the Army Staff, Commandant of the President’s Bodyguard and Director, Army Recruitment, on the petition.

The petitioner said he belonged to Ahir/Yadav caste and fulfilled all the eligibility criteria of recruitment as President’s Bodyguard except caste and sought that he be recruited for the post.

The petition, filed through advocate Ram Naresh Yadav, said the “preferential treatment” provided to the three castes has deprived other citizens, who were also eligible, of the opportunity of recruitment.

“The recruitment criteria so formulated and followed contains an arbitrary classification which is based on caste and henceforth, it being in the nature of class legislation, stands in complete violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Also, the recruitment process stands in violation of Article 15(1) which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, caste, sex, colour and place of birth,” the plea alleged.

It said there was discrimination in the recruitment process on the basis of caste and that Article provides for non-discrimination by the state in employment to public office.

“However, in the present case, since only three castes were allowed to be recruited to the office of Presidential Bodyguards, which is indeed a public office, there is violation of Article 16 as well,” it alleged.

The petition sought quashing of the recruitment policy based on caste/ region/ religion in the President’s Bodyguard and issuance of a direction to the Army to conduct the recruitment on non-discriminate grounds.

Earlier, the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court had refused to entertain a PIL on the issue, saying it does not get into these kinds of PILs.

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HC asks Centre, Army Chief why Yadav cannot be President's Bodyguard?
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HC asks Centre, Army Chief why Yadav cannot be President's Bodyguard?
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The petition, filed through advocate Ram Naresh Yadav, said the "preferential treatment" provided to the three castes has deprived other citizens, who were also eligible, of the opportunity of recruitment.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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