Thiruvananthapuram: If taken in the right spirit, the Supreme Court’s order reinstating IMG director T.P. Senkumar as the State police chief gives an opportunity to the LDF Government to pick a new DGP from a panel of possibly eight officers, including Mr Arun Kumar Sinha, now on Central deputation as a minister in the Indian embassy in Washington DC. Mr Sinha, belonging to the 1984 batch, is the senior-most IPS officer after Mr Senkumar and has service till October 2018. Highly rated, Mr Sinha has conveyed to friends that he plans to end his deputation and return to Kerala.
Incumbent chief Loknath Behera cannot hope to return through an automatic route since the bench, presided over by Justice Madan B Lokur, has cancelled his appointment by quashing the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal and the High Court. Whether the Government seeks to appeal the SC decision or complies with it sooner than later, the new DGP would have to be “appointed from among those officers of the State cadre of the Indian Police Service who have already been promoted to the rank of Director General of Police, taking into account the ability to lead the police force of the State, the overall history of service, professional knowledge and experience”.
Officers of the DGP rank also include Mr Jacob Thomas, Mr Behera, Mr Rishi Raj Singh, Mr A Hemachandran, Mr N Shankar Reddy, Mr Rajesh Dewan and Mr. Mohammed Yasin. But senior officers fear that the Government may err yet again because Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan apparently prefers to hear only what he wants to hear and not what he should listen. It is learnt that former Chief Secretary S M Vijayanand had counselled patience before deciding to shunt out Mr Senkumar the day after Mr Vijayan took over. Yet another decision of his, which virtually stunned the senior officers, has been the appointment of former DGP Ramon Srivastava as advisor to the CM and they still have not understood the logic behind the appointment. The latest verdict of the apex court does not leave any scope for arbitrariness in dealing with sensitive postings.
The judgment recalls recommendations by commissions on the need to insulate “the police from the Executive and providing the force a degree of freedom, without political or executive interference so that it could impartially investigate crimes and take preventive measures in law and order or public order situations”. This is why the SC had directed the setting up of a State Security Commission so that the State Government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the State police. However, the Government does not show any inclination in this direction. “It is this that persuaded this Court to direct that three persons independent of the government should be members of the State Security Commission (provided they are appointed by the State Government!) and that the recommendations of the Commission shall be binding on the State Government”, says the apex court verdict.