[dropcap]S[/dropcap]upreme Court of India has passed today a slew of directions on the appointment of the Director General of Police (DGs). The court was hearing an application filed by the Union of India seeking modification of the judgment of the apex court in Prakash Singh v. Union of India case (also known as the police reforms case). The government sought modification of direction no.2 in the original judgment which read as follows:-
“(2) The Director General of Police of the State shall be selected by the State Government from amongst the three seniormost officers of the Department who have been empanelled for promotion to that rank by the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of their length of service, very good record and range of experience for heading the police force. And, once he has been selected for the job, he should have a minimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation. The DGP may, however, be relieved of his responsibilities by the State Government acting in consultation with the State Security Commission consequent upon any action taken against him under the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules or following his conviction in a court of law in a criminal offence or in a case of corruption, or if he is otherwise incapacitated from discharging his duties.”
Appearing for the central government, Attorney General, K K Venugopal contended that out of 29 States, only 5 States — namely, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan — approached the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for empanelment. The other States did not follow the direction. He further stated that some States were appointing acting Director General of Police (DGP), which is in fact repugnant to the judgment of the apex court in the police reforms case.
On the other hand, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner Prakash Singh, submitted that approach of the States were absolutely “unacceptable”. The Director General of Police would continue for at least two years irrespective of the date of superannuation, submitted Bhushan.
Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan representing an intervenor, submitted that the UPSC should act as per the directions of apex court and it is the duty of the Union Public Service Commission and the States to see that the candidates who come within the zone of consideration have two years to go so that there will be a fair competition.
The court after hearing the parties at length issued the following directions:
The Union Public Service Commission shall prepare the panel as per the directions of this Court in the judgment in Prakash Singh’s case and intimate to the States;
The State shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel prepared by the Union Public Service Commission;
None of the States shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of Director General of Police on acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police as per the decision in Prakash Singh’s case(supra);
An endeavour has to be made by all concerned to see that the person who was selected and appointed as the Director General of Police continues despite his date of superannuation. However, the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period. We say so as it has been brought to our notice that some of the States have adopted a practice to appoint the Director General of Police on the last date of retirement as a consequence of which the person continues for two years after his date of superannuation. Such a practice will not be in conformity with the spirit of the direction.
direction No.(c) should be considered by the Union Public Service Commission to mean that the persons are to be empanelled, as far as practicable, from amongst the people within the zone of consideration who have got clear two years of service. Merit and seniority should be given due weightage.
Any legislation/rule framed by any of the States or the Central Government running counter to the direction shall remain in abeyance to the aforesaid extent.
The court further instructed that the directions issued shall be followed scrupulously by the Union of India and all the States/Union Territories. If any State Government/Union Territory has a grievance with regard to these directions, liberty is granted to them to approach this Court for modification of the instant order.