New Delhi: The recruitment process of bodyguard for President of India has caught up a storm after a petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by a resident of Haryana Gaurav Yadav. The HC has asked center and the Army Chief for their response.
In his petition, Gaurav has alleged that only three castes –Jats, Rajputs, and Jat Sikhs were considered for the recruitment for the post of the President’s bodyguard.
The Defence Ministry, Army Chief, Commandant of the President’s Bodyguard and Army Recruitment Director have been asked to submit their response within four weeks.
The petitioner, in this case, has applied for the recruitment and a test was held on September 4, 2017. He further added that he belonged to Yadav caste and fulfilled all the necessary eligibility criteria of recruitment but was denied selection based on his caste background.
In his petition, Gaurav has further mentioned: “Preferential Treatment” to three castes had been provided barring other citizens of this country and thus depriving other citizens 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, color and place of birth,” his petition said.
The petition also said that there was discrimination in the recruitment process on the basis of caste and Article 15(1) provides for non-discrimination by the state in employment to public office.
As mentioned in the petition it alleged that only three castes were allowed to be recruited to the office of Presidential Bodyguards, and it is a public office, therefore it violates the Article 16 of our constitution.
The matter came up in the light in 2013 as well
In 2013, theArmy has admitted in the Supreme Court that the recruitment to the PBG is open to Hindu Jats, Hindu Rajputs, and Jat Sikhs and cited it as a “functional requirement” and denied of caste and religious bias behind criteria of selection.
In their affidavit filed in the apex court, Army rejected the allegation of bias and said that ceremonial duties in the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of President of India, required a common height, built and appearance.
The affidavit further said that the PBG is a small unit of near about 150 troops that are placed under the President’s Secretariat. It said the unit is purely a ceremonial one that functions as per the protocol at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
“The ceremonial duties demand common height, built, appearance and dress for reason of pomp and projection which are important military attributes while performing such duties,” it said.