Supreme Court declines to modify its earlier order on appointment of DGPs, rejects petition by 5 states

The states which recently came under the Congress' reign were outrageous enough to completely disregard the Supreme court's verdict and implement modifications according to their preferences

The Supreme court on Wednesday dismissed a plea of five states seeking modification of its order issued last year on the selection and appointment of Director Generals of Police (DGP). The court reiterated its direction to states to select their police chief from a list of officers empanelled by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

The apex court while hearing the application drawn by Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala, which sought a modification of the Court’s July 3, 2018 order, had in fact on Tuesday asked the UPSC secretary to personally appear and inform the court if the commission prepares a panel of senior IPS officers for director general of police (DGP) appointments by state governments.

This decision had come in lieu of lawyer Prashant Bhushan alleging that the lists of senior IPS officers are not prepared by UPSC but by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

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However, after hearing the plea, in which these five states had sought implementation of their local laws regarding the selection and appointment of DGPs, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul said that the earlier directions of the court on selection and appointment of DGPs were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.

“On an in-depth consideration, we are left with no doubt that the said directions, keeping in mind the spirit in which the Court has proceeded to issue the same, as set out in paragraph 12 of the judgment in Prakash Singh (supra) (already extracted), are wholesome and if the same are implemented, it will subserve public interest until such time that the matter is heard finally,” the bench stated.

The top court, on July 3 2018, had passed several directions on police reforms in the country and chronicled the steps for appointment of regular DGPs. It had stated that it would be mandatory for the states to prepare a list of senior police officers at least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent and send it to the UPSC, which would then prepare a panel and intimate the states, which in turn will immediately appoint one of the persons from that list.

It further stated that the states should “immediately appoint” one of the persons from the panel prepared by UPSC and that “none of the States shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of Director General of Police on acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police as per the decision in Prakash Singh’s case.”

Even as the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier orders, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet Wednesday approved a one-year extension to Punjab DGP Suresh Arora till September 30, 2019.

Arora, appointed on October 25, 2015, was due to retire on September 30, 2018. He was given three more months initially, and the Supreme Court allowed him to continue for one more month till January 31, 2019.

Similarly, BS Sandhu, the Haryana DGP, who was due to retire on December 31 was also granted an extension till January 31, 2019.

Meanwhile, the states which recently came under the Congress’ reign were outrageous enough to completely disregard the Supreme court’s verdict and implement modifications according to their preferences.

In Rajasthan, the Congress-led government removed OP Galhotra from the DGP’s post, despite him not completing the minimum two years as mandated by the Supreme Court, and appointed Kapil Garg instead.

Similarly, as soon as Chattisgarh went into the hands of the Congress, DM Awasthi was appointed as the acting DGP. Regardless of the Supreme court order which did not recognise the concept of an ‘acting DGP’, Awasthi replaced former DGP AN Upadhyay, who had been the DGP since March 2014 and was posted as an ‘acting DGP’.

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