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Posted at: Jul 7, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Jul 7, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)THOUGHTFULLY YOURS

SC order will ensure an apolitical DGP

SC order will ensure an apolitical DGP

Naveen Garewal

The directive of the Supreme Court ensuring a stable and apolitical state police chief is set to upset calculations of several senior officers who are aspiring for the coveted post on the superannuation of the incumbent DGP this September. It has eliminated the chances of at least eight IPS officers who have two years or less of service left. But the moot question is will the Haryana Government follow the directive?

The move is not new; in the past too there have been occasions where state governments had been asked to ensure that the heads of departments have a reasonable tenure to enable them to function effortlessly. National Police Commission reports, Model Police Bill, etc have laid clear guidelines for governments to follow, but that is seldom done. Haryana has seen four DGPs in three and a half years. This is perhaps one reason why the state police have repeatedly failed to live up to expectations. Whether it was the 2016 pro-reservation Jat agitation or violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Panchkula, the police and the political leadership were both found wanting.

It is not now that the Supreme Court has given clear directions to the states and observed that any rule contrary to the direction will remain in abeyance. In 2006, the landmark judgment, popularly known as “directive on police reforms”, led every state to enact its own Police Act. Within six months, the Haryana Police Act, 2007 was in place. Its Section 6 clearly states that the government can itself appoint a DGP for a period not less than a year.

The Supreme Court continued to monitor the implementation of its order pronounced in the case titled Prakash Singh versus Union of India. Since some states circumvented the direction to suit the whims and fancies of the political masters, the court once again took up an interim application of 2018 in the same case for modification of the 2006 judgment. A former IPS officer, Prakash Singh had served as BSF chief and the DGPs of Uttar Pradesh and Assam. He is considered to be the key architect of police reforms in India

The SC has reiterated while disposing of the application that a DGP should be appointed for two years, which is also the requirement under the IPS cadre rules. The names of senior-most officers in the rank of DGP are to be sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which will then send back a list of three names, based on their service record. And out of the three the state shall pick one for appointment. No DGP will be appointed on a temporary basis and he will continue to serve for two years even if he superannuates early, provided left-out time after retirement is  reasonable.

When the incumbent DGP was appointed  in 2017, lawyer Hemant Kumar had filed an RTI application, seeking information on the appointment procedure. The government responded by admitting that there was no Civil Services Board in the state to consider and approve the postings and transfers of officers. At present all transfers and appointments are made on the sole discretion of the Chief Minister.

Haryana is required to send names to the UPSC at least three months before appointment. At present the state has 12 IPS officers in the rank of DGP, out of them three will superannuate in September and one in October this year. Out of the remaining eight, two have less than two years of service left. So, that leaves only six in competition; three of them will retire in 2020 and the remaining in 2021. The promotion of 1988-batch officers is due since January, and if that happens, there will be two more contenders. Out of these eight, the UPSC will pick three names and the state will select one of them. This formula has obviously left some heartbroken and at the same time ensured that the next DGP will continue to serve irrespective of which party forms the government.

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