New Delhi, Aug 08 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea seeking direction that the control of the Assam Rifles, the country's oldest paramilitary force, be given to either the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry of Defence.
A division bench of Justice Sanjeev Khanna and Justice Navin Chawla admitted the plea and said it would be heard on October 30.
The plea filed by a former government employee, Kiran Pal Singh, said Assam Rifles functions under the administrative control of the Home Ministry but is headed by Army personnel who come under the Ministry of Defence, adding that force be given to one of the ministries as the dual leadership was causing administrative problems which could not be addressed.
The plea, filed through advocate Abhishek Kumar Choudhary, said: "The Home Ministry has always found it difficult to exercise control over the force as it comprised officers and personnel from the Army, which comes under the Ministry of Defence."
The petition claimed the Defence Ministry's policies were "so discriminatory that the jawan or soldier has to wait for 13 years to become eligible to apply for the departmental officer's post but in other paramilitary forces, a jawan or soldier is eligible to fill for the officer cadre departmental post after merely 3 years of continuous service".
"After retirement, a jawan or soldier of Assam Rifles are not recognized under 'Ex-Servicemen' status whereas such status is given to the personnel of Army, Air Force and Navy only," the plea added.