After the high court verdict, the state government is frantically scouting for options to save itself from further embarrassment.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said he would comment after reading the judgment that the high court delivered on Thursday. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chitkala Zutshi, who heads the police department, said she did not receive the judgment copy. Home Minister Jayant Patil was unreachable.
Former deputy chief minister and home minister RR Patil, who during his stint had sidelined three senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers to appoint Roy as head of state police, denied comment. Former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh could not be reached.
Minister of State for Home Nitin Raut felt that the government should honour the court order. “Any government should follow what the court has said,” he said.
In that case, the government would need to replace Roy within a month.
Senior-most DG, S.S. Virk (1970 IPS batch) would be the legal choice. Virk will retire in July. Other two seniors J.D. Virkar (1972 IPS) and Suprakash Chakravarty (1972 IPS) who initiated legal proceedings against the state retire in July and June, respectively.
A top Home Department official said on condition of anonymity that the government’s stand would depend on Roy’s next move. “If the Supreme Court admits Roy’s appeal, the state would need to explain its stance once again.”
A Law and Judiciary Department officer said on condition of anonymity that if the apex court offered Roy interim relief, the state would also get a respite. “By then, all three seniors in the contention would retire. And then being the senior most officer, Roy would automatically continue as DG.”
The official said the state should not intervene in the matter because it had already admitted in the high court that it did overlook senior most IPS officer SS Virk for DG’s post.
“Also, the Supreme Court had directed in the past that the state must select the DG from among the three seniormost IPS officers. In our case, we had chosen the fourth on the seniority list,” he said.