Contrary to law and recommendations by various commissions to give a fixed tenure to police officers in key positions, the Punjab government has changed the inspector general of police (Patiala Zone) for the third time in less than three months, giving the zone its 4th IG in the process, Naunihal Singh, who was appointed on November 12.
The previous three occupants, have now all been shifted in quick succession. Paramjit Singh Gill was replaced by Ishwar Chander after the retirement of former on August 31. Chander assumed the charge on September 3, before he was too replaced by Paramjit Singh Grewal on October 12. Now, on November 12, barely a month after he took charge, Grewal has been replaced by Naunihal.
Section 15 of the Punjab Police Act, 2007, mandates that officers posted as inspector general, deputy inspector general, SSP and SP shall have a minimum assured tenure of one year against those posts and the tenure is extendable to a maximum period of three years. However, with the fourth IG taking charge in less than three months, it is clear that the law has been ignored.
Over the entire year, in fact, none of the IGs have been given an opportunity to understand the role and the responsibilities of the office that is meant to police Patiala Zone-comprising Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Ropar, SAS Nagar and Nawanshahr.
Working under the scanner
The frequent transfers have once again put the working of state home department under the scanner. “Patiala is one of most sensitive police ranges as it is the entry point to Punjab through Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Not having a fixed tenure for the IG, who coordinates across districts, is compromising with the residents’ security as well,” said an official in the state police, requesting anonymity.
“The provision of fixed minimum tenure in Police Act, 2007, was to ensure that officers can work without any political pressure and other extraneous conditions. If assured a fixed tenure, officers can pursue his long and short term plans to maintain law and order and crime control and detention. The frequent changes, that too because of political reasons, has lowered the morale of police officials and made them prone to keep their political bosses happy to remain on important field posts,” claimed advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi, a criminal law expert.
He claimed that recently an SP (detective) was transferred from Patiala in less than a month of being posted, as he did not ‘oblige’ the ruling party’s MLA.
The previous incumbent Grewal was just about getting used to the job in a month and he has again been given the insignificant post of IG (Indian Reserve Battalion) on November 12 by Naunihal, who has got his first posting after being promoted from DIG to IG.
Naunihal Singh had earlier served as Chandigarh SSP and was posted as DIG, Punjab Armed Police (PAP)-2 and Training at Chandigarh.
The previous incharges
“The previous three occupants, have now all been shifted in quick succession. Paramjit Singh Gill was replaced by Ishwar Chander after the retirement of former on August 31.
“Chander assumed the charge on September 3, before he was too replaced by Paramjit Singh Grewal on October 12.
“Now, on November 12, barely a month after he took charge, Grewal has been replaced by Naunihal.