Centre moves SC against fixed term for police chiefs

The Union government has filed an interlocutory application in the Supreme Court to amend a 2006 order of the court that is being used by the States to appoint “favourites” as Directors-General of Police.

The Home Ministry moved the court earlier this month to seek clarity on the order that ensures a two-year fixed term for the DGPs.

A senior official of the Ministry said some States were misusing the order and appointing officers about to retire, giving them a fixed term of two years, irrespective of the superannuation date. The official said the implementation of the order was not monitored effectively.

Recently, the Home Ministry wrote a strong letter to the Andhra Pradesh government after the State forwarded a panel of seven officers of the rank of DGP, including three on the verge of retirement. The State had kept the post vacant for months and issued an order on November 24 to appoint N. Sambasiva Rao, an IPS officer of the 1984 batch, who was to retire on December 31. Mr Rao is likely to hold the post until the 2019 elections.

In 2016, the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal issued an order allowing IPS officer Surajit Kar Purkayastha to stay in office for two years, though he attained superannuation on December 31.

The late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had used the order to appoint Ashok Kumar, an IPS officer of the 1982 batch, as the DGP in November 2014 for a fixed term of two years, though he attained superannuation in June 2015. Mr Kumar, however, took voluntary retirement in September 2016, two months before the end of his tenure.

“The All India Services Act, 1951, bars any officer from remaining in office after retirement unless cleared by the Centre. The Home Ministry is the cadre-controlling authority for IPS officers, and the Supreme Court order is being increasingly misused by the States to appoint officers close to the regime,” the official said.

Ministry to frame norms

The official said the Ministry would lay down guidelines to ensure that only those who had a minimum of one-and-a-half to two years to retire were included in the panel. “Most of the time these appointments are done for political gains as the officer will be obliged to return favours,” the official said.

The court issued the order for a fixed two-year term for the DGPs after Prakash Singh, former DGP of Uttar Pradesh, filed a petition on police reforms.

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