The Supreme Court has given a “quietus” to the row between two former IPS officers — A.R. Infant and Shankar M. Bidari — over selection to the post of State Director-General and Inspector-General of Police.
“Now that the appellant [Mr. Bidari] and respondent 4 [Mr. Infant] have crossed the age of superannuation and a decision by this Court in this matter is not going to materially affect either of them in any way, it would be best to put a quietus to this matter,” observed a Bench of the apex court comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai in its January 10 order disposing of Mr. Bidari’s plea.
Mr. Bidari was appointed DG&IGP on November 1, 2011. However, Mr. Infant challenged his appointment before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which on March 16, 2012 quashed Mr. Bidari’s appointment.
Later, the Karnataka High Court on March 30, 2012 dismissed the appeals filed by Mr. Bidari and the State government against the CAT order, and also directed the government to forthwith appoint Mr. Infant to the post. Mr. Infant took charge as DG&IGP on April 1, 2012.
Both the High Court and the Tribunal had held that selection process was vitiated as the National Human Rights Commission’s report, on atrocities committed by the anti-Veerappan special task force (STF), was not placed before the Union Public Service Commission, the empanelling authority. The High Court and the CAT had pointed out that report should have been placed before the UPSC as the report contained certain remarks against Mr. Bidari as he commanded Karnataka wing of the STF.
On appeal against this order by Mr. Bidari, the Supreme Court on April 24, 2012 remanded the matter to the High Court as the NHRC report was not placed before the High Court during earlier proceedings.
After going through the NHRC report, the High Court in its May 28, 2012 verdict again dismissed the pleas of Mr. Bidari and the State government, while pointing out that contents of the NHRC report was relevant for consideration by the UPSC before it empanelled senior IPS officers for the post of State police chief.
Both Mr. Bidari and Mr. Infant retired from service on May 31, 2012.
In the appeal against this order, it was contended before the apex court on behalf of Mr. Bidari that observation and findings of High Court had “cast stigma on his otherwise unblemished career as a police officer.”
While disposing of Mr. Bidari’s appeal against this order, the apex court said: “The observations and finds of the Karnataka High Court are now no more than of academic interest and are of no practical consequence. We, therefore, do not see any reason to delve further in the matter and to consider all the other points raised by senior counsel Huzefa Ahmadi, on behalf of the appellant.”
The Supreme court also made it clear that “it is evident that the High Court has found that the NHRC report comments adversely on Mr. Bidari, not in his personal capacity, but vicariously upon his role as a Commandant of the Task Force.”
Without going into the issues like whether NHRC report was a relevant document that should have been placed before the UPSC or whether Mr. Bidari’s empanelment was incorrect, the Court observed that “...we find that it is difficult to construe those paragraphs [in NHRC report and High Court order] containing any adverse comment much less any indictment of the appellant in is role as the Deputy Commandant of the STF.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also permitted Mr. Bidari to withdraw another petition, in which he had claimed that he had the tenure till October, 31, 2013 as the Supreme Court had declared that the term of DG-IGPs should be two years irrespective of their age of superannuation.