IAS/IPS cadre allocation case: SC seeks Centre’s reply

Supreme Court.

New Delhi,  The dispute over the online form for the IAS and IPS cadre allocation policy has reached the Supreme Court again.

A batch of fresh pleas was filed in the court on Monday by a group of IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and IPS (Indian Police Service) officers of the 2018 batch for a fresh chance to mark their preferences for cadre allocation after nearly two dozen similarly placed officers were granted the benefit by the court on May 17.

In its order the apex court had granted relief to trainee IAS and IPS officers who had challenged the 2017 batch cadre allocation process.

The court had ruled that the trainees be accommodated by increasing one post in the state cadre of preference this year. The language of the September 2017 office memorandum related to cadre allocation was vague, observed the court.

The Centre had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court’s order, earlier this month, which quashed the cadre allocation of IAS and IPS officers of the 2018 batch.

While 18 petitioners had moved the Delhi High Court, two others approached to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).

A Division Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Surya Kant asked Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, appearing for the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), to respond to the petition and listed the matter for the second week of July.

Advocate Shashank Ratnoo, appearing for petitioners, said their main grievance was that the Centre made concessions to only some candidates.

Earlier, Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta had suggested at the vacation Bench, comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, the trainees would be accommodated without considering ’99’ in view of their choices registered.

“This will be done by increasing one post in the respective state cadres this year, which will have to be adjusted in coming years. The suggestion is accepted by the respondents,” the court had said.

For no preference in zones and cadres, the candidates had to enter “99” in the online form as per the 2018 batch cadre allocation policy.

Modifying the Delhi High Court order, the apex court had directed the Centre to consider the Solicitor General’s suggestion while accommodating the 20 trainee officers without disturbing the original cadre allocation.

Terming it an exception, the court had stated it could not become a precedent for other candidates of the same batch.

“The petitioners were not informed of the pendency of such a matter before the Delhi High Court though the matter would have direct consequences for their cadre allocation as well. But, on appeal by the DoPT the apex court restricted the benefit of fresh allocation to only a few candidates,” said the petition.

The trainee officers sought parity with those who got relief and “be permitted to provide preferences afresh.” They also submitted implementation of the cadre allocation policy violated the principle of equality.