TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Government policies and reforms
- Governance; transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures
In News: The Supreme Court had dismissed the pleas of five states seeking modification of its order issued last year on the selection and appointment of director generals of police.
- The apex court was hearing applications of various state governments, including Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar, seeking implementation of their local laws regarding the selection and appointment of DGPs.
- A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the earlier directions of the court on selection and appointment of DGPs were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.
Prakash Singh vs Union of India
In its 2006 judgment in Prakash Singh vs Union of India (filed in 1996), the SC laid down guidelines for appointment and removal of the DGP.
In the 2006 judgment, the SC said –
- The Director General of Police of the State shall be selected by the State Government from amongst the three senior most 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.
- About removal: The DGP may… be relieved of the 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.
On July 3, 2018, the Supreme Court passed another order laying down further guidelines for the appointment of a DGP by the States, stressing that there is no concept of an acting DGP.
In the 2018 order, it said –
- All the States shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) well in time at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent on the post of DGP.
- The UPSC shall prepare the panel as per directions of this court in the judgment in Prakash Singh’s case and intimate the Sates. The state shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel prepared by UPSC.
- None of the States shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of DGP on acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police as per the decision in Prakash Singh’s case.
- An endeavour has to be made by all concerned to see that the person who was selected and appointed as DGP continues despite his date of superannuation.”
- The court also directed the States to “ensure that DGP is appointed through a merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.”
The Supreme Court must increase the pressure on state governments to implement the Prakash Singh judgment. It must also ensure that central government doesn’t exercise its clout. Finding the right balance is important.
Connecting the Dots:
- The half-hearted implementation of the Prakash Singh judgment has come back to haunt the states. Discuss.
- What are the recommendations of the Prakash Singh Committee on police reforms? Examine.