DGP appointment: SC dismisses pleas of five States seeking modification of its order

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi. File

The Supreme Court on January 16 rejected the pleas made by five States to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their police chiefs.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi dismissed the applications filed by Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar for modification in the apex court orders in the procedure to be followed for appointment of Directors General of Police (DGP).

The court said its directions were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.

On December 12, 2018, the apex court extended till January 31 the tenures of the present DGPs of Punjab and Haryana and agreed to hear the States’ pleas seeking to implement their local laws regarding the selection and appointment of the police chief. DGPs Suresh Arora (Punjab) and B.S. Sandhu (Haryana) were due to retire on December 31, 2018, and will now remain in office till January 31 according to the earlier order of the apex court.

In July 2018, the Supreme Court had refrained State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission.

The State governments concerned have to send UPSC the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGPs are to retire. The UPSC will prepare a panel of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back. The UPSC shall, as far as practicable, choose the people within the zone of consideration who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority. The State, in turn, shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.  

The court had passed the series of directions on an application made by the Centre for modification of a September 22, 2006 judgment pronounced by the Supreme Court in a petition filed by former DGPs Prakash Singh and N.K. Singh for reforms and transparency in the State police forces. Some State governments had even gone to the extent of appointing their “favourite” officers as DGP on the very date of their retirement so that they would continue to serve for another two years till the age of 62. Here, the court had clarified that though States may make an endeavour to allow the DGP appointed to continue in office despite his or her date of superannuation, this extension of tenure should be only for a “reasonable period”.

On the practice of States appointing “Acting DGPs”, the court ordered that States shall not “ever conceive of the idea” of such appointments.

The apex court had also ruled that any rule or state law on the subject of appointment of police officers “will be kept at abeyance“. 

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2022 6:59:04 pm |