‘Emotional maturity needs to be tested while selecting cops’

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has said it was “unfortunate” that India was still following British era recruitment process and selecting police personnel on basis of only physical strength and fitness and advised devising of a procedure which would include criteria like emotional maturity and psychological tests.

“What we find in India is that the only screening done is with respect to the moral character and integrity, physical strength and (that the person is) free from medical disease.

“No evaluation pertaining to the emotional maturity, ability to remain calm in emotionally charged situations, ability to handle difficult situations and be responsive and the ability of initiative in work is conducted,” a bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani said.

The bench said it was “unfortunate” that India was still following British era recruitment process and “not marching ahead in the comity of nations”, where psychological tests are also conducted to ascertain suitability of a candidate commensurate to the nature of job they are being inducted to.

It advised the Centre to devise a selection procedure under which those who are desirous of joining police forces would be tested with regard to not only their integrity, physical strength and fitness but also with respect to their emotional maturity, ability to be calm in charged situations, ability to exercise initiative in their work, dependability and good judgement.

The observations came on a man’s plea challenging the order withdrawing his appointment to post of constable in the CISF on the ground that he was an accused in a criminal case, even though he was acquitted by the trial court.

It noted there were “no rules to guide the authorities in Delhi Police as to in what cases despite acquittal, the person can be kept out of service or can be deprived of employment”.

With regard to the criteria of criminal background of a candidate, the court said it would be a violation of the Constitutional right of a person if “trivial offences” by him would justify the government “shutting its eyes and denying employment”.

It said it was “high time” that the executive made a policy for not treating summary or ordinary conviction as a bar to entry or retention in government service, including the police force.

Noting that his acquittal was “honourable” as it came after the prosecution led all its evidence, the high court set aside his rejection and directed that he be inducted into service as a Constable with Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

It also said that “he would be entitled to all benefits of seniority and continuity into service with effect from the date the person immediately beneath the petitioner in the empanelled list was made to join”.

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