It’s quite the revolving-door policy when it comes to choosing a police commissioner for Ludhiana. Ever since the commissionerate system was introduced by the then SAD-BJP government in February 2010, 14 officers have occupied the post, which simply means an average of a six-month tenure for each incumbent.
And the transfer of power to the Congress does not seem have had effect. It appointed Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh soon after taking oath on March 16, and has now transferred him. RN Dhoke, appointed on April 24, now holds the post. Kunwar lasted 38 days, but even that’s only the second shortest tenure of a commissioner in the city. That record belongs to RK Jaiswal, who served for 23 days, between May 29 to June 21, 2014.
Such transfers — overtly and covertly influenced by political considerations — are against the law. Section 15 of the Punjab Police Act says an officer in the rank of station house officer (SHO) and above shall have an assured tenure of one year, extendable up to three years. It can be cut short only in case of promotion, conviction, suspension, or if the officer is suffering from a grave illness, it adds.
Of the commissioners in the last seven years, only two — Ishwar Singh, who held the post twice, and Promod Ban — were able to keep the chair for at least a year. While Ishwar was the first ever incumbent and served for a year and five months (February 16, 2010, to July 22, 2011), he was again appointed in March 2012, soon after the assembly elections. The second appointment lasted a year and three months, which means his stints account for two years and eight months of the seven years of the commissionerate in the city. Promod Ban served for over a year from June 2014 to August 2015.
Jatinder Singh Aulukh, who was the commissioner until the Congress government replaced him last month, served for just 13 days short of a year.
Mathematics also tells us that 10 of the 14 police commissioners have so far served two years and six months between them, thereby averaging three months. In 2014 alone, Ludhiana witnessed appointment of five police commissioners.
The practice is having an effect on the functioning of the police in the city. Here’s a latest instance. Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had changed jurisdictions of the 28 police stations for better functioning, besides introducing the no-challan experiment for traffic management. All of that has already been reversed by his successor RN Dhoke. The question is: Who was right, and are such flip-flops in the interest of policing?
WHO STAYED HOW LONG?
Officer: Appointed on: Tenure
Ishwar Singh: Feb 16, 2010: One year 5 months
SS Chauhan: July 2, 2011: 6 months
Ishwar Chander: Dec 31, 2011: Two months, 23 days
Ishwar Singh: Mar 23, 2012: One year 3 months
PS Gill: June 13, 2013: 5 months
NS Dhillon: Nov 18, 2013: 3 months
PS Gill: Feb 19, 2014: 40 days
Sanjeev Kalra: Apr 1, 2014: 2 months
RK Jaiswal: May 29, 2014: 23 days
Promod Ban: June 21, 2014: One year 45 days
PS Umranangal: Aug 7, 2015: 7 months 23 days
Jatinder Singh Aulukh: March 30, 2016: 11 months 17 days
Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh: March 17, 2017: 38 days
RN Dhoke: April 24, 2017: In chair now