SC bans appointment of acting police chiefs

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed state governments to refrain from appointing acting police chiefs upon the superannuation of an incumbent top cop.

"None of the states shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of Director General of Police (DGP) on acting basis" as there is no concept of acting DGP in the top court's 2006 directions for ushering police reforms, said a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The bench, also comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, directed that all the "states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)" at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent DGP.

The UPSC will prepare a panel of three senior-most officers with a reasonable remaining tenure up to retirement (two years or close to it) and send it to the state government to pick one for appointment as police chief.

The state shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel, the court said, adding merit and seniority should be given due weightage.

It clarified that an endeavour has to be made by all concerned to ensure that the person who was selected and appointed as the DGP continues despite his date of superannuation.

"However, the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period.

"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 said, thereby injuncting them from taking cover of their laws in not adhering to the top court's directions.

The court's direction to all the states and Union Territories came during the hearing of an application by the Centre seeking modification of its direction mandating compulsory two-year term, irrespective of the age of retirement, for the post of police chiefs.

The Central government told the court that some states were appointing politically convenient officers as acting police chiefs and when they get close to their retirement, they are appointed on regular basis thereby enjoying full term of two years, which extended well beyond their date of superannuation.

The court did not modify its direction but it barred the state governments from appointing any officer as acting DGP.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told the court that out of 29 states, only five - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan - have approached the UPSC for empanelment and the rest have not followed the top court directions of 2006.



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