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SC restrains States and UTs from appointing acting DGPs
 
New Delhi, Jul 3 (PTI) The Supreme Court today passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country and restrained all states and union territories from appointing any police officer as acting Directors General of Police (DGPs) to avoid favouritism and nepotism in such high-level appointments.

The top court's direction came on an application filed by the Centre in which it claimed that certain states have been appointing acting DGPs and then making them permanent just before the date of their superannuation to enable them get the benefit of an additional two-year tenure till the age of 62 years.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud passed slew of directions for appointment of state police chiefs.

"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...," the bench said.

Chronicling the steps to be taken for appointment of the police chief, the apex court said, "All the states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) well in time, at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent on the post of Director General of Police".

It said the UPSC shall then prepare a panel as per the earlier directions of the court and intimate it to the states, which in turn shall immediately appoint one of the persons from that list.

"An endeavour has to be made by all concerned to see that the person who was selected and appointed as the DGP continues despite his date of superannuation," the bench said and added that the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period.

"We say so, as it has been brought to our notice that some of the states have adopted a practice to appoint the Director General of Police on the last date of retirement, as a consequence of which the person continues for two years after his date of superannuation. Such a practice will not be in conformity with the spirit of the direction," it said.

The top court said the UPSC, while considering the names for empanelment, shall look for those people as far as practicable with clear two years of service left before superannuation.

It said the UPSC should also give due weightage to merit and seniority while considering names for empanelment.

The bench ordered keeping in abeyance any rule or legislation framed by any of the states or the Centre running counter to the earlier direction of the court.

"The present directions shall be followed scrupulously by the Union of India and all the States/Union Territories. If any State Government/Union Territory has a grievance with regard to these directions, liberty is granted to them to approach this Court for modification of the instant order," it said.

During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal said only five states--Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan--have approached the UPSC for empanelment of police officers for the post of DGP.

He said that 19 States have not complied with the direction given by apex court in 2006 and were adopting a method of appointing acting DGP, whereas such a concept was not perceptible.

The AG said that some DGPs were initially appointed on acting basis and thereafter made permanent just before the date of their superannuation, as a consequence of which they continue till the age of 62 years.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner Prakash Singh, said the entire approach of the States was absolutely unacceptable.

He said the 2006 decision of the apex court clearly said that the DGP will continue for at least two years irrespective of the date of superannuation.

Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for intervenor Ashwini Upadhayay, said the UPSC should act as per the directions of this Court. "It is the duty of the UPSC and the States to see that the candidates who come within the zone of consideration have two years to go so that there will be a fair competition," he said.

The apex court, on September 8 last year, had agreed to hear a clutch of pleas observing that its historic 2006 verdict on police reforms, recommending steps like fixed tenures for DGPs and SPs, has not yet been implemented by states and union territories.

The apex court, while deciding the PIL filed by two former DGPs Prakash Singh and N K Singh in 2006, had issued several directions, including setting up of a state security commission, to ensure that the government does not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.

It had said the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police (SPs) should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years.


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