New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear on May 17 the Centre’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict which had quashed cadre allocation of IAS and IPS officers of the 2018 batch. The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the high court had asked the government to redo the entire exercise.
Mehta told the court that those selected under the cadre in the 2018 batch have undergone training and were supposed to start joining their respective cadres from May 10. The Delhi High Court had recently quashed the Centre’s cadre allocations of IAS and IPS officers of the 2018 batch under the new policy and ordered fresh cadre allocation. It had noted that re-allocation of cadres by authorities should not take much time as it is done electronically, that is through computer program or software, and authorities already possess requisite data.
The high court had said that it was inclined to grant relief to petitioners considering that they have approached the court at the very earliest and at a stage when neither IAS nor IPS officers of the 2018 batch have commenced their on-site training which are cadre-specific.
The court’s verdict came on four petitions filed by various officers challenging the notification of Central government allocating cadres to candidates of Indian Police Service (IPS) on the basis of results of the Civil Services Examination (CSE), 2017.
They had sought direction to the Centre to issue a new list allocating respective cadres to selected IPS candidates in the CSE, 2017, purely on the basis of merit and preferences indicated in the online form, by correctly interpreting the Office Memorandum (OM) of September 5, 2017.
The pleas had claimed that the interpretation of Cadre Allocation Policy 2017 adopted by authorities was unreasonable and grossly unfair, unjust and arbitrary. “The same is violative of the principle of equality in as much, as, the more meritorious candidates, who have ranked higher in CSE, 2017, have been denied allocation to cadres for which they had given their preferences, and less meritorious candidates have been allocated to the said cadres,” the officers’ counsel had argued.
As per the 2017 office memorandum on cadre allocation policy, states and joint cadres were divided into five zones. According to that policy, candidates were required to first give their choice in the descending order of preference from amongst various zones. Thereafter, candidates will indicate one preference of cadre from each preferred zone.
The candidates will indicate their second cadre preference for every preferred zone thereafter. A similar process will continue till a preference for all cadres is indicated by the candidate. If a candidate does not give any preference for any of zones/cadres, it will be presumed that he has no specific preference for those zones/cadres and accordingly, if he is not allocated to any one of the cadres for which he has indicated preference, he shall be allotted along with other such candidates in the order of rank to any of the remaining cadres, arranged in an alphabetical order, in which there are vacancies in his category after allocation of all candidates who can be allotted to cadres in accordance with their preference, it had stated.