New Delhi: On the selection and tenure of DGP, the apex court, in 2006, had directed that the police chief shall be selected by the state government from three senior-most police officers who have been empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC on the basis of their “length of service, very good record and range of experience for heading the police for-ce”. It had also said that once an officer has been selected for the job, he or she should have a mimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation.
The judgment had further said that the DGP may, however, be relieved of his responsibilities by the state acting in consultation with the State Security Commission on grounds like “conviction in a criminal offence or in a case of corruption, or if he is otherwise incapacitated from discharging his duties”.
The directions were reiterated by the apex court on July 3, 2018 when it further directed that the states cannot appoint any acting DGP and will have to follow the selection procedure with UPSC's role in it.
It stated that the states will have to send a list of senior police officers to the UPSC at least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent. The commission will then prepare a panel of three officers and intimate to the states, which in turn will immediately appoint one of the persons from that list.
Modifications of these directions were sought by states like Punjab which enacted a local law in 2007.
The law provided separate selection procedures having no role of the UPSC in the empanelment of senior police officers for appointment as DGPs. Punjab, in 2018, amended the law.
The apex court noted that a plea challenging the local law of Punjab was already pending before it and “any expression of opinion of this court on the contentions raised may have the effect of pre-judging the issues arising in the writ petition...”
“On an in-depth consideration, we are left with no doubt that the said directions, keeping in mind the spirit in which the court has proceeded to issue the same, as set out in paragraph 12 of the judgment in Prakash Singh.., are wholesome and if the same are implemented, it will subserve public interest until such time that the matter is heard finally,” it said.
UPSC Secretary Rake-sh Kumar Gupta, who appeared before the court, said that in pursuance of the judgement, a panel of eligible officers in the rank of DGP or the additional DGP had been drawn up by a committee of commission in as many as 12 states and panels consisted of representatives of the UPSC, the Centre and the state governments concerned. Taking note of the prevalent practice, the court said it further “fortifies” the view that, for the present, the directions would not require any correction or modification.
The apex court, while deciding the PIL filed by two former DGPs Prakash Singh and N.K. Singh in 2006, had issued several directions, to ensure that the government does not exercise unwarranted influence on the police. It had said the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police (SPs) should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years. However, when states enacted laws providing mechanism for DGP selection, the apex court had on July 3 last year kept the state laws in abeyance. — PTI...