The Supreme Court Monday asked Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman
to assist it in the hearing on a petition seeking abolition of
caste, region and religion-based recruitment in the Indian Army.
The apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice
Dipak Misra while not issuing notice on the petition of I.S. Yadav
asked his senior counsel S. Balakrishnan to serve the plea on the
solicitor general who would assist the court.
The petitioner sought a court direction that there should be no
discrimination in the recruitment of soldiers so that the army
could become a monolithic force as was the case with the air force
and the navy.
The petition said there were 22 army regiments which were based on
caste, region and religion. He said some regiments used in their
names words like Punjab, Madras, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir,
Maratha, Rajputana, Jat, Sikh, Dogra, Garhwal, Ladakh, Mahar,
Kumaon and Naga.
The petition said that different units of the cavalry too were
based on caste, region and religion.
President's Bodyguard, a cavalry regiment, was an example of gross
injustice done through caste or class or region-based recruitment.
"In the regiment of President's Bodyguard only those from three
castes, namely Hindu Rajputs, Hindu Jats and Jat Sikhs can be
enrolled," the petition said.
The petitioner said the army provided employment to around 15 lakh
people and one-fourth of its personnel retired every year and
fresh recruits stepped into their shoes.
"Such a large source of employment and opportunity to serve the
motherland should not be kept as the pocket privilege for the
captive consumption of any particular caste, class, community,
region or religion," said the petition.
The petitioner said recruitment based on caste or class or region
was "open to judicial scrutiny".