HC notice to Centre on caste-based recruitment for President’s bodyguard

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The President’s Bodyguard is an elite household cavalry regiment of the army. (HT File )

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the exclusion of certain castes from the process of recruiting for the President’s Bodyguard. The high court bench of justice TS Dhindsa has sought a response by April 29 on the plea of one Manish Dayma, a Gurugram resident.

The notice was issued after assistant solicitor general (ASG) Satya Pal Jain confirmed that the advertisement in question was issued by the unit concerned of the defence ministry. The court was also informed that a similar petition is pending before the Delhi high court as well.

The petitioner has challenged an advertisement of August 12, 2017, stating that the advertisement for recruitment of President’s Bodyguard excluded certain castes from applying for the posts.

The President’s Bodyguard is an elite household cavalry regiment of the army. It is the senior-most in the order of precedence of the units of the army and its primary role is to escort and protect the President.

The petition seeks quashing of the 2017 recruitment as in the said recruitment only candidates from the three castes — Jats, Rajputs and Jat Sikhs were recruited. The President’s Bodyguard is only for pomp and show purpose and does not perform any significant function in security. The preferential treatment provided to some castes has led in the deprivation of opportunity of recruitment to other citizens who were eligible, except for their castes, the petitioner’s counsel, Himanshu Raj had stated before court.

The petition seeks changing the process of recruitment for The President’s Bodyguard in future and quashing of the 2017 recruitment. The petition says the move was in violation of articles 14 (equality before law), 15 (non- discrimination on the basis of caste) and 16 (equality of opportunity) of the Constitution of India.