Resentment over new mode of IPS enrolment
The intervention by the Supreme Court last week asking the UPSC not to announce the results of the Limited Competitive Examination (LCE) conducted on May 20 has underscored the fact that the decision of the Centre in trying to fill up vacant posts in the IPS through a new method is controversial. The recent chief ministers’ conference also had seen opposition from states for recruitment of over 100 IPS officers through the LCE.
The LCE is an examination which has thrown open the gates of IPS to officers of the defence and para military forces. Hitherto only gazetted police officers of the states of the rank of DySPs and above could join the IPS on promotion if they fulfilled certain conditions. In fact 33 per cent of total posts in any state IPS cadre is reserved for them. The grouse of serving police officers, IPS or otherwise, is that with the LCE, those not exactly conversant with crime prevention and law and order duties get an entry into IPS which might result in problems in police administration.
Any officer who has completed five years of continuous service as a DySP in any state or an asst. commandant in any central paramilitary force like BSF, CRPF, ITBP, NSG etc., or any officer in the armed forces who holds a rank of captain/major gets eligibility to write the LCE. The applicant needs to be below 37 years. The written examination is followed by a personality test.
LCE is the solution evolved by the Centre to overcome the serious shortage of IPS officers all over the country. More than 1,300 out of 4,720 posts in the country are now vacant. Since IPS is an all India Service, this shortage not only affects the states, but the Centre too.The only way available to fill up these vacancies was to increase the annual intake of IPS officers through UPSC.
Though this has been tried in the last few years, it is found insufficient to overcome the problem. Appointing a very large number of IPS officers in a single year would affect cadre management.
The Centre therefore, appointed a committee headed by Kamal Kumar, a senior IPS officer, to suggest a solution. He favoured holding of the LCE after holding several consultations.
The concern of the serving police officers, both IPS and non-IPS, is that the influx of officers entering though LCE will seriously affect their seniority and promotion prospects. Those who take LCE are serving police officers or defence officers. Since the minimum age of entry for LCE is 35 years, they would definitely have 5 to 13 years of experience in government service. When they join IPS, their earlier service outside would also be reckoned and their inter-se seniority in the IPS would definitely affect junior level directly recruited IPS officers having less than ten year seniority.
Also a situation might arise wherein an additional SP in a state in the age group of 45 will become junior to his own DySP, if the DySP gets selected to IPS through LCE. As such there is a tough competition among state service police officers to get into IPS in the promotion quota available to them. In certain states like Odisha, where there is no direct recruitment of DySPs, the competition is tougher. In fact it is such officers who cannot get the eligibility to write the exam feel that LCE is unfair to them.
State service police officers who enter IPS through promotion quota of 33 per cent are normally around 45-50 years of age and during their 10-15 year tenure in IPS they will not seriously affect the career prospects of directly recruited IPS Officers. However those joining through LCE will be young having a career span of 20 to 25 years. They will pose a permanent threat to the direct recruits. This is the cause for the anxiety among direct recruits.
Earlier, after the China war, defence officers of emergency/short service commission were given an opportunity to join IPS (also IAS) through a special scheme. The fixation of their seniority in the IPS became a vexatious issue leading to plethora of litigations. Almost all such officers have now retired.
LCE, therefore, is mired in controversy and a large number of police officers want this scheme to be scrapped. They feel that before going ahead with the LCE, the Centre should have undertaken a wider range of consultation with the states as well as serving officers. Every one is now eagerly awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court.
(The author is a former Director General of Police)