The Madras High Court on Friday set aside a January 2010 order appointing Letika Saran as Director-General of Police, Tamil Nadu. It issued a series of directions by which the State government should select the officer for the post from a panel which would be forwarded to it by the UPSC, and make the appointment by December 7.

Till such time, Ms.Saran should be allowed to discharge the DGP's functions.

Allowing a petition by R. Nataraj, DGP and Director of Fire and Rescue Services, a Division Bench consisting of Justices F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla and M.M.Sundresh said when it came to the court's knowledge that the Supreme Court directions had not been adhered to in appointing the head of the State police force, it was the court's duty to ensure that the Supreme Court's order was scrupulously followed.

Mr.Nataraj sought to quash an order of the Principal Secretary, Home, dated January 8, 2010, appointing Ms.Saran as DGP, Tamil Nadu, and that of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) of March 8 this year and called for a direction to the government to follow the Supreme Court decision in the Prakash Singh case. A.L. Somayaji, Senior Counsel for Mr.Nataraj, submitted that the only manner in which the DGP's post/Head of Police could have been filled was by following the directions in the Prakash Singh case.

The Bench said a perusal of the records disclosed that the Supreme Court's directions were not followed in the matter. There was nothing in the file which would indicate the consideration of the relative merits and demerits of the officers concerned, except a typed note prepared by some unknown official. The file also did not disclose any proper selection process. There was total inaction on the Tamil Nadu government's part to carry out the Supreme Court's directions in letter and spirit.

As far as K.Vijay Kumar (at present, Director-General of CRPF), was concerned, the Bench said having regard to his status in the DGP's rank, his name ought to have been considered for the post of DGP, Tamil Nadu.

As regards the CAT order of March 8 upholding Ms.Saran's appointment as DGP, the Bench said the tribunal had held so without application of mind and the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

The Bench directed the Tamil Nadu government to forward the names of all eligible officers in the rank of DGP in the cadre of HAG + (Higher Administrative Grade) scale of Rs.75,000 –(and increment at three per cent) Rs.80,000 as on date with their service records to the UPSC with a request for preparing a panel as directed by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case. The particulars should reach the UPSC office on or before October 26.

The court said it had not expressed any opinion on the merits or demerits of the parties to the writ petition. If the UPSC required any clarification, it should be given as expeditiously as possible, if necessary, through a special messenger by November 12. The UPSC should prepare a panel and forward it to the State Government by November 26.

The State government should make the selection from the panel and appoint the DGP positively on or before December 7.