APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE (DGP)
- Recently Nagaland Government challenged the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) recommendation of Rupin Sharma as the candidate for the DGP post.
- Following which, on January 23, the Supreme Court had directed the Nagaland government to appoint the 1992-batch IPS officer as police chief within a week.
REASONS & CHRONOLOGY OF THIS DISPUTE
- Nagaland students union protested the six month extension given to incumbent DGP and legally challenged the decision, following which the Supreme Court asked the state to send a panel of eligible officers for the post to the UPSC.
- The state sent the list, which had Rupin Sharma and A Sunil Achaya, an officer of the 1991 batch of the IPS.
- UPSC cleared only Sharma’s name to Nagaland for consideration. As Rupin Sharma alone met the criterion of a minimum 30 years of service, the UPSC said.
- State government objected the decision and argued that the Supreme Court had said in the Prakash Singh judgment (2006) that the panel must have at least three officers and UPSC must therefore reduce the service length criterion to 25 years (so that more officers become eligible).
- Finally SC ruled in favour of UPSC, saying this could create a situation in which a senior officer is forced to function under an officer five years junior to him. Court also ruled that the stipulation of three officers in the panel was not sacrosanct.
PRAKASH SINGH JUDGEMENT (2006)
Appointments of DGPs are now made on the basis of the Supreme Court judgment on police reforms in Prakash Singh vs Union of India 17 years ago.
SC’s guidelines on the appointment of police chiefs are as:
- The DGP is to be selected by the state government from among the three senior most 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 force”.
- The DGP should have a fixed tenure of two years in the post, irrespective of the date of retirement.
- A DGP can be removed only in exceptional circumstances.
PROCESS OF APPOINTMENT OF DGPs
Following the PRAKASH SINGH JUDGEMENT, the UPSC issued its own guidelines in 2009 on the appointment of police chiefs of states.
- According to guidelines :
- The states are supposed to draw up and send to the UPSC a list of eligible officers with at least 30 years of service behind them, along with these officer’s service record, performance appraisal, and vigilance clearance.
- These officers are to be of the rank of ADG or the rank of police chief (and one below) stipulated for that state.
- The list is supposed to be given to UPSC six months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
- An empanelment committee headed by the UPSC chairman, and with the union home secretary, state chief secretary, state DGP, and the chief of a central police organisation in it, is supposed to select a panel of three officers “based on merit”.
- For smaller states that may have only one cadre post of DGP, the committee is supposed to send two names.
OTHER IMPORTANT RULES REGARDING APPOINTMENT
- Under the rules, consent of an officer is not required for her posting.
- Also, the Centre has the power to not relieve an officer for posting in the state.
- UPSC also submitted that while the 30-year rule could be relaxed to 25 years in states like Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Uttarakhand, Tripura, and Sikkim which may not have enough officers meeting this criterion, this is to be done with the consent of the Centre.
- Through two orders passed in 2018 and 2019, the SC has also stipulated that the UPSC shall not put in the panel any officer with less than six months to retirement.
EFFICACY OF THIS SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT
- According to Supreme Court judgements, there must be no temporary or ad hoc appointments of police chiefs, but there are at least four states currently having interim chiefs.
- In Delhi, S N Srivastava, who was appointed commissioner of police in 2020, spent almost his entire tenure in interim status, and was succeeded by an interim commissioner.
- The Centre has also used the Prakash Singh judgment selectively.
- As in 2021, it rejected the candidature of Rakesh Asthana and Y C Modi as CBI Director on the ground that they had less than six months to go for retirement, but appointed Asthana as commissioner of Delhi Police a day before his retirement.
REASONS OF SUCH DISPUTES IN APPOINTMENTS
- Problems often arises, as the UPSC has relied mainly on seniority to draw up the panel of officers. But SC had repeatedly emphasised on “merit” as the basis of appointment.
- Vagueness of criterion: Suppose If a state has given a list of a dozen officers, it may not be the case that they think that just the three most senior among them are fit for the job. Because there might be more meritorious officers below them in the list.
- Other Centre-State frictions.
- Prakash Singh, the former UP DGP and police reforms crusader, told “UPSC is not discharging its duty up to expectations. It appears they are vulnerable to pressures from interested quarters.”
SOURCE : THE INDIAN EXPRESS
Syllabus : GS 2, MAINS, INDIAN POLITY AND GOVERNANCE