Promotional prospects of 19,917 constables of AB Police hang in the balance
The promotional prospects of 19,917 constables of the AB (Armed Branch) Police hangs in the balance.
ARMED BRANCH OF ASSAM POLICE
GUWAHATI: The promotional prospects of 19,917 constables of the AB (Armed Branch) Police hangs in the balance. This is despite the order passed by the Gauhati High Court.
Talking to The Sentinel, Advocate Fazluzzaman Mazumder — who had argued the case in the High Court — said that while passing the order, the Division Bench of the High Court observed that AB constables are entitled for "conversion because non-conversion will block their promotional avenue." Mazumder added that the Court has directed the DGP (Director General of Police) to 'convert' the competent AB constables to keep open their promotional avenues.
If the DGP does not approve the "conversion" file, it will "definitely deprive the eligible AB constables from their right to be considered for promotion", pointed out Advocate Mazumdar.
Mentionably, the Assam Police constabulary is divided into two separate branches, viz., the AB (Armed Branch) Constable' and the UB (Unarmed Branch) Constable'. Presently, 19,917 numbers of constables are working in 'AB' with most of them qualified enough for promotion to the higher position by way of departmental examination.
Prior to the 2018, the promotional avenue was open for an 'AB' constable to the post of 'ASI' (Assistant Sub-Inspector).
The 'ASI' is a promotional post where 75% of vacant posts are filled up through promotion by way of departmental examination. According to 'Rule 16' of the 'Assam Police Manual Part-III, a constable from any stream could sit in the departmental examination for promotion to the post of ASI.
In 2018, the Assam Police HQs amended 'Rule 16'; and as per the amended Rule, only 'UB' Constable are permitted to appear in such departmental examinations. However, an 'AB' constable is not allowed to appear in the examination unless their position is converted from 'AB' to 'UB'. This process is referred to as "conversion" in the Police department.
Mentionably, though there is a separate promotional avenue for both the streams yet the post of an 'ASI' was the only promotional post where an 'AB' constable could be promoted by way of departmental examination. But by amending Rule 16 the authority has blocked the avenue, added Advocate Mazumdar.
There is a provision in the 'Assam Police Manual' for conversion from Constable 'AB' to 'UB'.
On several occasions, competent 'AB' constables had requested their authority concerned for "conversion", but their requests were reportedly not considered.
Finally, 600 'AB' constables filed two different WPs (Writ Petitions) in Gauhati High Court for "conversion" which were registered as WP(C) No.110/20 & 140/20.
The Court directed the DGP (Director General of Police) to convert the petitioners' positions from the stream of 'AB' to that of 'UB'. In compliance with the direction, the AP (Assam Police) HQs issued a circular on May 5, 2021, where it is declared that 25% of the total cadre strength of 'AB' constable shall be converted of those who are interested. The AP HQ also invited "service particulars" of the interested 'AB' constables.
Advocate Mazumdar added, "Without converting the positions of the eligible AB constables, the AP HQ is preparing the stage to fill up the vacant posts of UB constables only by direct recruitment. He pointed out that as on date, a total of 2,510 posts of UB constables are lying vacant.