Appearing for the officers before the bench of justices Gita Mittal and Deepa Sharma, senior advocate Vivek Tankha submitted that "non-functional financial up-gradation (NFU) is given to all other group cadre 'A' organised services but these officers were denied saying they have not been accorded organised service status."
The senior counsel also argued that the officers from paramilitary forces are facing stagnation not only because of lack of adequate promotional posts but also because a majority of the higher posts of the top hierarchy had been filled up by deputations (IPS officers) who have failed to take adequate steps for career progression of the cadre officers.
The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Rajeeve Mehra, who appeared for the central government, to furnish the records pertaining to cases for grant of NFU to the officers.
The bench also sought the parties to file short synopsis by the next date of hearing and posted the matter for August 1.
The bench was hearing pleas filed by more than 200 serving and retired officers of the paramilitary forces seeking the court's direction for grant of NFU to them alleging the deprivation of the financial benefit is "affecting the morale and efficiency of the officer."
The CRPF officers have requested the court to issue directions to the authorities to "extend the benefit of NFU to the cadre group A officers...".
They have also sought the court to direct government to treat them as members of an "organised cadre" which will ensure promotion and other service-related benefits to them.
"..There is an acute stagnation in the cadre of Group A officers of CRPF and this is affecting the morale and efficiency of the officers dedicating their life to the service of the nation at various sensitive areas in the performance of most important duties of internal security of the country that too when they are subjected to inhuman living conditions and in the absence of even basic facilities away from their families," the petition stated.
The officers also said "undertaking these policy measures will ensure pay parity and social recognition as they would get timely promotions."
These forces are the country's largest paramilitary forces and not only guard strategic Indian frontiers but are also deployed for a variety of internal security duties.
In the plea, the petitioners said "while the Department of Personnel and Training ( DoPT) had issued notification providing for grant of non-functional pay up-gradation, the government is yet to accord the benefit to group 'A' officers of the paramilitary force."
According to the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations, the grade pay decides the status of an officer and denial of non-functional financial up-gradation is highly discriminatory, the officers alleged.