Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh with state director general of police Dinkar Gupta. Even before the detailed order of the tribunal was received, the CM’s media adviser tweeted quoting Amarinder that Dinkar will continue as Punjab DGP.(HT file photo)
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh with state director general of police Dinkar Gupta. Even before the detailed order of the tribunal was received, the CM’s media adviser tweeted quoting Amarinder that Dinkar will continue as Punjab DGP.(HT file photo)

CAT quashes appointment of Dinkar Gupta as Punjab Police chief

Central Administrative Tribunal, Chandigarh, allowed pleas by Dinkar Gupta’s two colleagues Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, DGP, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, and Mohammed Mustafa, DGP, Punjab State Human Rights Commission, who were among five officers superseded in 2019
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2020 03:48 PM IST

The central administrative tribunal (CAT) here on Friday quashed the appointment of Dinkar Gupta as the Punjab director general of police (DGP).

The CAT directed the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and empanelment committee to prepare a list of three officers strictly in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment in Prakash Singh’s case and complete the exercise within four weeks.

A 1987-batch IPS officer, Gupta succeeded Suresh Arora as the Punjab DGP on February 7, 2019, superseding five senior officers.

The appointment was challenged by two colleagues Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, DGP, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, and Mohammed Mustafa, DGP, Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Apart from Mustafa and Chattopadhyaya, the other officers superseded were Hardeep Dhillon, Jasminder Singh and Samant Goel.

CM SAYS GUPTA WILL CONTINUE

The CAT special bench, comprising chairman L Narsimha Reddy and Mohammad Jamshed, had reserved its order on January 8 on the two pleas filed in February and March 2019.

Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh said that Gupta will continue on the post. “The matter has to be sorted out between CAT, UPSC and the officer. However, Dinkar will continue to be the DGP of Punjab,” the chief minister’s media adviser, Raveen Thukral, had tweeted even before the full judgment was made available.

The CAT, in its order, said that the procedure adopted by the empanelment committee and UPSC for preparation of the panel violated the Supreme Court judgment in Prakash Singh’s case. The judgment says selection shall be made on the basis of (a) length of service, (b) very good record and (c) range of experience for heading the police force.

“The easiest way for a state government to ensure that an officer of its choice and who is pliable as DGP, would be to continuously post him in any specific activity, howsoever inconsequential it may be, and then to make an effort to accord primacy to such activity in the process of selection,” the CAT observed.

“There cannot be a better instance of arbitrariness and favoritism, than this. The selection process would stand reduced to a mockery. Any aspiring officer would make endeavour in ensuring that he remains in the good books of the administration and he is posted continuously in a particular activity,” it said.

‘ELIGIBLE BUT IGNORED’

Mustafa had claimed that he was “more eligible” for the post of the DGP according to all three criteria that the Supreme Court set. “The UPSC was kept in the dark while it recommended officers for the top post because of vested interests,” he alleged.

As for Chattopadhyaya, he said seniority was ignored. The DGP, PSPCL, had also sought to summon records pertaining to the appointment before the CAT.

The government has all along maintained that Dinkar Gupta’s appointment was made in accordance with the directions passed by the Supreme Court and as per the guidelines of the Union Public Service Commission.

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