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MHA orders data analysis to fix retirement age anomaly of CAPFs

twitter-logoPTI | March 1, 2019 | Updated 14:52 IST

New Delhi, Mar 1 (PTI) The Union Home Ministry has asked CAPF chiefs to conduct a data analysis exercise and assess "long term" age profile issues of combat units once the retirement age of their troops is raised from 57 years to 60 in the wake of a court order to fix an existing anomaly, officials said Friday. A meeting was held in the ministry on the subject on February 27 in the wake of a Delhi High Court order that called the current policy of different age of superannuation in the four forces of CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB as "discriminatory and unconstitutional" which created two classes in these uniformed forces. The meeting discussed various implications once these four forces also have the retirement age of all its personnel at 60 years like the CISF and Assam Rifles, a senior official privy to the meeting said. The Home Ministry has asked the Directors General (DsG) of these forces to conduct a data analysis and furnish information to it by the next week and has called for a fresh meeting on March 6. The directive issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been accessed by PTI and it said CAPF chiefs should assess the impact of the proposed decision on "future" recruitments, age profile of personnel deployed for border guarding tasks and deputation of these men and women to special forces like the NSG, Special Protection Group and the NDRF. It added the "incremental increase" in manpower once the retirement age is enhanced should also be analysed along with cases of those troops graded under the low medical category owing to injury in action or any disease. "Whether there would be any long term effect with regard to raising of new battalions in case of change in retirement age?," the directive asked the CAPF chiefs to find. These forces are deployed to undertake a variety of security roles in the country, ranging from guarding borders to conducting anti-Naxal operations and combating terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The Delhi High Court had issued its order on January 31 and had given the Home Ministry four weeks' time to implement its directive. A senior official in the security establishment had told the news agency that the ministry will take the views of all DGs and it is expected that the superannuation age of all the personnel of these forces will be brought up to 60, as prevalent in two other forces under the ministry's command-- the CISF and Assam Rifles -- and remove existing anomalies. As per the present policy, all personnel in Central Industrial Security Force and Assam Rifles retire at the age of 60 while in the rest four forces, personnel in the ranks of constable to commandant (senior superintendent of police equivalent) retire at the age of 57, while those above them superannuate after attaining the age of 60. A bench of Justices Muralidhar and Sanjeev Narula had struck down these rules, saying such discrimination would lead to "lowering of the morale" of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel. The decision had come on a batch of petitions seeking that the retirement age of CAPF personnel of ranks concerned be enhanced to 60 years at par with officers above the rank of commandant in the four forces. The high court bench had said that among the CAPFs "a differential treatment is given to those belonging to AR, CISF, where all members in all ranks retire at the age of 60 years. Whereas, in the BSF, CRPF and ITBP two classes have been created where officers above the rank of commandant retire at the age of 60 and all other ranks retire at the age of 57". The court had also noted that the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC), which had examined the issue, by a majority of 2:1 had favoured enhancement of the retirement age of the commandant and below ranks in the three CAPFs. While the CRPF is the largest CAPF of the country with over 3 lakh personnel and is tasked as the lead internal security force, the BSF guards Indian borders. Similarly, the ITBP mans the Indian frontier with the SSB secure open borders with Bhutan. The CISF is tasked with guarding 61 civil airports and other vital infrastructure in the country and the Assam Rifles guards the India-Myanmar border. PTI NES DV DV

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