M A I N   N E W S

HC wants to know what is being done about 
tainted cops
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service


1. “Whether the letter and spirit of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, was being complied with by the state, which has been passed by its own legislature?
2. “Whether the officers, who are facing criminal charges, or are convicted, and have got key postings, be removed from these posts and given posts where they do not have any public dealing?
3. “Is it not in the larger interest and propriety of the state not to give key postings to the charge-sheeted (criminal)/ convicted officers?”

Chandigarh, May 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab government to tell it what it proposes to do with its tainted police officers.

Taking a serious view of their continuation on plum postings in alleged violation of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, a Division Bench today ruled that propriety demanded their removal or transfer.

An officer, not below the rank of an additional director-general of police, has also been asked to clarify the state’s stand in the matter.

The ruling comes on a petition filed by Punjab IGP Rajinder Singh. In fact, what started as a promotion matter has now turned out to be a major headache for the government, and the tainted cops, right from station house officers (SHO) to directors-general of police (DGP).

Pronouncing the orders in an open court this morning, the Bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain ruled: “Propriety demands those who are holding key posts and have been chargesheeted should be transferred and posted where there is no public dealing”.

Elaborating upon the circumstances resulting in the issuance of the orders, the Bench observed: “Senior advocate Kanwaljit Singh, counsel for the petitioner, on the last date of hearing, had raised a very pertinent question to be answered by the state, which is independent of the writ petition (filed by Rajinder Singh).

“He has stated that Section 15 of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, pertains to the term of office of key police functionaries”.

Quoting the Section for ready reference, the Bench added officers posted as IGP of a zone, DIG of a range, SSP, SP, ASP, DSP and SHO of a police station, in a district, shall have a minimum assured tenure of one year, against posts extendable to maximum period of three years.

The officer may be removed or transferred by the competent authority from his post before the tenure’s expiry if he is, among other factors, “convicted, or against whom charges have been framed by a court of law”.

Referring to Rajinder Singh’s petition, the Bench observed: An annexure shows respondent Sumedh Singh Saini. The Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, has been charged in a case under Section 341, 342, 364 and 120-B of the IPC by a Delhi court”

The Bench also observed: It is not that only respondent Saini has been charged in a criminal case of a serious nature. But, there are a number of police officers, the list of which was provided in the court of Justice H.S. Bhalla, who are facing criminal charges; and trials are going on.

Issuing notice to the state, the judges asked it to answer in form of an affidavit, to be filed by an officer not below ADGP’s rank, “as to whether the provisions of the Act were applicable to Director, Vigilance Bureau, Punjab; and to other officers charged for criminal offence and facing trial, but holding key postings”

Before parting with the orders, the Judges appointed advocate Navkiran Singh as amicus curiae (friend of the court) and asked the state to file its reply positively in two weeks. The Judges added the orders would have no bearing on Rajinder Singh’s petition and would be treated independently, whatever be its outcome. The case will now come up for hearing on May 27.



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