The retirement age of CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB personnel is all set to be raised to 60 years, from the present 57, with the Home Ministry calling a meeting of all CAPF chiefs next week to resolve an existing anomaly regarding their superannuation, officials said Wednesday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sent a directive in this context to the Directors General (DsG) of these forces in the wake of a Delhi High Court order that called the current policy "discriminatory and unconstitutional" which created two classes in these uniformed forces.
These CAPFs 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 meeting has been convened for February 27 and it will be chaired by an additional secretary of the ministry, they said.
The ministry, as per a directive accessed by PTI, has also asked the chiefs of these four large forces to first "go through" the court's order and send their comments to it by February 25.
The Delhi High Court had issued its order on January 31 and had given the government (Home Ministry) four weeks' time to implement its directive.
A senior official in the security establishment told the news agency that the ministry will take the views of all the DsG 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.
He added that the forces want this abberation to be removed and hence, it is expected to be approved in the first meeting itself.
As per the present policy, all personnel in the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Assam Rifles (ARs) retire at the age of 60 while in the rest four forces, personnel in the ranks of constable to commandant (senior superintendent of police) retire at the age of 57, while those above them superannuate after attaining the age of 60.
A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Sanjeev Narula had struck down these rules saying that such discrimination would lead to "lowering of the morale" of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) personnel.
"This will include arriving at a decision as regards the retirement age which will be uniform for all members of the CAPFs, irrespective of their rank, thus bringing all of them, including the CISF and the Assam Rifles, on par and fixing the date from which such changed retirement age will take effect," the court had said in its 70 page verdict.
The decision had come on a batch of petitions seeking that the retirement age of CAPF personnel of the concerned ranks be enhanced to 60 years at par with the 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 the 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 the enhancement of the retirement age of the commandant and below ranks in the three CAPFs.
"The concerned CAPFs themselves i.e. the BSF, CRPF, ITBP and SSB have also favoured the removal of the discrimination," the bench added.
"The CAPFs have become an indispensable part of the security apparatus in the country. It is difficult to think that the government, whether at the Centre or at the states, would be able to combat the serious challenges of safety and security and of its people without the participation and the sacrifices made by members of the CAPFs.
"Their morale definitely needs to be preserved. Discrimination in the matter of the age of retirement amongst members of two wings of the CAPFs will contribute to lowering the morale rather than bolstering it," the court had said while striking down the age limit of 57 years.
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 with Pakistan and Bangladesh. Similarly, the ITBP mans the Indian frontier with China and the SSB secure open borders with Nepal and 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.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)