SC Dismisses Plea Challenging Recruitment Procedure of President’s Bodyguards
The President of the Republic cannot be made subject matter of a PIL, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra has observed and dismissed a plea which alleged that the recruitment process adopted for the selection of the President 's bodyguards was discriminatory.
The bench also declined to accept the submission of the petitioner’s counsel to withdraw the PIL.
“This can’t be an issue in the PIL. The President of the Republic can’t be subject matter of the PIL,” the bench observed.
Petitioner Ishwar Singh had challenged the Delhi High Court’s September 4, 2016, order which had dismissed his plea.
Singh alleged that candidates just from three castes -- Sikh, Rajput and Jaat -- were recruited as the President 's bodyguards, which is caste biased and discriminatory .
In his SLP, the petitioner sought to set aside the recruitment process of President’s bodyguard.
Referring to a media report on the bodyguards’ recruitment in September last year, the petitioner said: “Three castes namely Jat, Sikh (except Mazhabi, Ramdasiya, SC & ST) and Rajput were eligible for recruitment and the candidates from these castes only were invited and eligible to participate in the above said recruitment process.”
“Such recruitment is against the principles of equality before law laid down under Article 14 and also against Article 15, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth, and also against Article 16, equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, therefore, the selection process of President's bodyguard is unconstitutional and illegal as the same do not permit all eligible citizens of India for selection and recruitment for the said post. The above said recruitment is unconstitutional, racist and apartheid.”
The following questions of law were raised in the petition:
- Whether the criteria of eligibility to only three castes and prohibiting other castes is in gross violation of fundamental right enshrined under Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution of India?
- Whether the impugned order dated 04.09.2017 passed by the high court is against the law laid down by this hon'ble court?
- Whether the respondents have followed the proper Indian Army recruitment policy for the recruitment of President's bodyguard while declaring eligibility criteria?
- Whether the policy of recruitment of President's bodyguard is against the spirit of the Constitution of India?
- Whether a candidate is declared unfit for the services of the President's bodyguard on account of "caste, creed and locality"?
- Whether the high court has not made proper inquiry regarding the appointment for the President's bodyguard from the Indian Army and erred in passing the order dated 04.09.2017?
- Whether the high court has failed to give proper finding in respect to the recruitment for the President's bodyguard from the Indian Army?
- Whether the law laid down in SP Gupta v Union of India (AIR 1982 SC 149) is applicable in the present case
- Whether a public-spirited person can challenge the recruitment policy which is in violation of the Constitution of India?
- Whether the law laid down by this court in Hari Bansh Lal v Sahodar Prasad Mahto, civil appeal no. 7165 of 2010, is applicable to the present fact and circumstances of the case?
- Whether the criteria laid down for the recruitment of the President's bodyguard is unfair and unreasonable and the same is against the provisions of the Constitution of India?
Read the Petition Here