Confusion still prevails in the government over the appointment of the head of State police following the Supreme Court order earlier this week asking the Karnataka High Court to take a fresh look at its order quashing Shankar M. Bidari's appointment to the top post.

Conflicting interpretations of the Supreme Court order is holding up the decision of the State government as some of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda's advisers have recommended a cautious approach, highly placed sources in the government told The Hindu. The others, however, are keen to see Mr. Bidari return to the post of Director-General and Inspector-General of Police. However, Mr. Gowda, it is learnt, is yet to make up his mind on whether to relieve A.R. Infant, the incumbent officer, and reinstate Mr. Bidari or whether to wait for the High Court's decision. The Supreme Court order also stayed the verdict of the Central Administrative Tribunal, which had quashed the appointment of Mr. Bidari.

Not exonerated

The group advocating a ‘wait and watch' policy has pointed out that the Supreme Court has in no way exonerated Mr. Bidari.

Counsel representing Mr. Infant had told the High Court that Mr. Bidari had committed human rights violations as the Deputy Commander of the Special Task Force constituted to nab forest brigand Veerappan.

Stating that it will be unable to deliver a verdict on the matter before the two officers retire on May 31, 2012, the Supreme Court has said the State government is free to make an appointment subject to the High Court's final order.

It is the interpretation of the latter part of the apex court's observation that has the government in a bind. Advisers asking the government to exercise caution are of the view that it is not for legislative or executive arm to take a decision at this stage.

Those arguing in favour of Mr. Bidari point out that the High Court and CAT strictures have been invalidated by the Supreme Court's order. Further, it has been argued that the State government should stand by the affidavit it filed before the High Court stating that Mr. Bidari was the ideal candidate for the post. “When the Supreme Court has set aside the High Court's order, how can Mr. Infant continue? The State government can very well put its stated position into motion,” said a source.

The High Court is on summer vacation until May 21 and it remains to be seen whether the case will be listed before the vacation bench.