Supreme Court to examine petition against ‘British legacy’
The Supreme Court will examine whether Army recruitment can take place on the basis of caste or region to its regiments.
A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishanan and Dipak Misra on Monday asked Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman to assist the court in deciding a public interest writ petition filed by I.S. Yadav of Rewari in Haryana, who alleged that such discrimination was still continuing in the Army.
“There cannot be specific recruitment on the basis of caste, region and religion to various regiments like the Maratha Regiment, Rajasthan Rifles, the Dogra Regiment, etc.”
Describing it as a British legacy, Dr. Yadav said such recruitment policy did not have the sanction of any law made by Parliament. In the Indian Air Force and the Navy “there is no such discriminatory classification of squadrons/fleets based on caste/religion/region.”
Giving a chart of various regiments, he said: “It is obvious that their basic structure is totally based on caste/class/region/religion. There are no fixed criteria of population or martial history of a particular caste in determining the various percentages/strength in the various fixed class regiments. The percentages allocated are not based on any scientific data study but are the result of historic quirks.” Further, the single class/fixed class composition denied an opportunity to the majority of Indian population in getting enrolled into these regiments.
Another example, of the President’s bodyguard, would further highlight “the gross injustice.” In the regiment of President’s Bodyguards, only Hindu Rajputs, Hindu Jats and Jat Sikhs could be enrolled. The petitioner sought a direction to the Centre and the Army to abolish such a recruitment policy.