Hired during Punjab’s militancy days, the 150-odd special police officers (SPOs) seeking posts of constable got their 25 petitions dismissed in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The bench of justice GS Sandhawalia refused to intervene, stating that merely because some people had been absorbed did not entitle everyone to seek exemption, as all of them were given a chance to qualify. Between 2011 and 2014, the SPOs had challenged the government orders asking them to join Home Guards instead.
They wanted relaxations of the kind given to similarly situated people. Punjab Police hired 16,000 SPOs during the militancy era between 1990 and 1995. In 1997, it absorbed some of them as constables after written and physical examinations and more in three further tests. A 2005 order appointed the remaining SPOs to Home Guards and some of them took the offer. In 2011, on the recommendation of a committee, sanctions came to absorb more unsuitable SPOs but the petitioners challenged the move, seeking constable’s posts instead.
The government even set the qualifying bar at middle-standard Punjabi certificate but found no one eligible in four further chances.
Most cases were of the time prior to absorbing the SPOs in police. In more than a dozen other cases, rules were relaxed in exceptional circumstances.
The high court observed that the petitioners had no right to be absorbed after failing to qualify as cops on four occasions, and it was in these circumstances that they had been asked to join Home Guards.