New Delhi: The Army has admitted in the Supreme Court that recruitment to President's Bodyguard (PBG) is open only to Hindu Rajputs, Hindu Jats and Jat Sikhs, saying that it is done purely on “functional requirement” and there is no caste and religion bias in it.
In an affidavit filed in the apex court, the Army refuted the allegation that any of the recruitment is done on the basis of caste and religion, saying that ceremonial duties in the Rashtrapati Bhawan demand common height, built and appearance.
“It is stated that the example of PBG being open to only three classes cited by the petitioner (who alleged biasness on part of Army) once again proves the point that Force structuring/composition is purely based on functional requirement,” the affidavit said.
“PBG is a small unit of approximately 150 troops which is placed under the President's Secretariat. Unlike what its name suggests, it is purely a ceremonial unit tasked to perform ceremonies as per the protocol at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The ceremonial duties demand common height, built, appearance and dress for reason of pomp and projection which are important military attributes while performing such duties,” it said.
PBG was raised in 1773 at Benares by the then Governor, Warren Hastings. Since being first christened as ‘The Guard of Moguls' in 1773, the Regiment has had various titles viz. ‘The Governor General's Bodyguard (GGBG)' in 1784, ‘The Viceroy's Bodyguard' in 1858, the ‘44th Divisional Reconnaissance Squadron GGBG' in 1944, before getting back it's old title ‘The Governor General's Bodyguard' in 1947.
With India becoming a Republic on 26 January 1950, the Regiment came to be known as - “The President's Bodyguard”.