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Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, BSF on arbitrary promotion procedure

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response from the Centre and the Border Security Force on a plea alleging arbitrariness in the procedure for deciding inter-se seniority for personnel working in BSF.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on petition filed by BSF employee Dinesh Singh, which alleged that to determine inter-se seniority for BSF employees, 90 percent weightage was given to physical training and meagre 10 percent to the score in written examination. The Bench posted the matter for next hearing on October 22. 

The plea, filed through Advocates Pankaj Kumar and Shubhendu Saxena, challenged Rule 3(3)(ii) of BSF (Seniority, Promotion and Superannuation of Officers) Rules, 1978, which govern inter-se seniority amongst officers holding the same rank.

The petition said Dinesh joined BSF in 1997 after qualifying CPO 1994 examination conducted by SSB. Pointing out arbitrariness in marks assigned during physical training, the plea contended that BSF is governed by Central Services Rules, and is bound by the DoPT guidelines and O.M.s on service-related issues including seniority, wherein it is laid down that seniority shall be determined by the order of merit in which a person is selected for such an appointment. 

“The impugned BSF rule is vague and gives arbitrary power and discretion to decide the percentage of marks to be allocated to the physical training and written test, in addition to being contradictory to the OM No 21011/2/80-Estt dated May 19, 1983,”

-the plea claimed.

According to the plea, various representations have been made by the petitioner requesting for re-fixation of original seniority of Assistant Commandants (DE) selection through Central Police Organization’s 1994 examination conducted by SSB CRPF. However, the concerned authorities refused to consider his representation.

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In light of the above, the plea sought declaration of the procedure of according more than 90 percent weightage to physical training while determining the inter-se seniority as arbitrary and unsustainable in the eyes of law; and for re-fixing petitioner’s seniority with reference to his merit situation/ ranking in the selection list with the batch mates of 1994 for the purpose of promotion.

In addition, the plea sought declaration of Rule 3 (3) (ii) of BSF Seniority Rules, 1978 as violative of the O.M.dated May 19, 1983 issued by the DoPT; as also being vague and against the principles of delegated legislation.

“There is no reasonable motive and aim to give more than 90 per cent marks to the physical raining and less than 10 per cent marks to the written score. Such a process of marking and deciding the inter-se seniority therein is per se arbitrary and unreasonable and is in violation of Article 14 of Constitution of India,”

-noted the plea.

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