New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted relief to 20 trainee IAS and IPS officers who had challenged the Centre's 2018 batch cadre allocation process. The court ruled that the trainees will be accommodated by increasing one post in the state cadre of preference this year.
The Centre had moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court's verdict, earlier this month, which quashed the cadre allocation of IAS and IPS officers of the 2018 batch. As naby as 18 petitioners had moved the Delhi High Court, while two petitioners went to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The candidates had to enter "99" for no preference in zones and cadres in the online form as per cadre allocation policy for 2018 batch.
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta suggested a vacation bench comprising Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Sanjiv Khanna that the trainees would be accommodated without considering '99' in view of their choices registered.
The court said: "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."
Modifying the Delhi High Court order, the court directed the Centre to take SG's suggestion under consideration while accommodating the 20 trainee officers, keeping in mind that the original cadre allocation of the other candidates should not be disturbed.
"It is made clear that such accommodation is being made as an exceptional case and will not be treated as a precedent for other candidates of the same batch or in future as only these 20 persons approached the court/tribunal in time. All questions of law are kept open," the court observed.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the trainees said the policy was discriminatory and "convenience cannot be an issue when questions on fundamental rights are involved."
The Delhi High Court in its order awarded relief to the petitioners, as they approached the court before the beginning of the on-site training, which is based on allocation of cadre. The officers have challenged Centre's notification on allocating cadres, candidates of Indian Police Service (IPS), on the result of the Civil Services Examination (CSE), 2017. They had sought fresh cadre allocation on the basis of merit and preferences registered on the online form.