SC dismisses PIL to clip Centre's power on IPS transfers
- The petitioner questioned the rule in the light of constitutional freedoms, in particular the right to equality (Article 14), arguing that the provision provides ‘arbitrary’ discretion in the hands of the Centre and allegedly also impacts the right to dignity of the officers concerned
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a petition challenging Centre’s power as the cadre-controlling authority to override states on matters of transfer and deputation of police officers in the backdrop of the row over Centre’s December order to transfer out three senior cops from West Bengal following a breach in security of BJP national president JP Nadda, whose cavalcade was attacked on the way to a public meeting at Diamond Harbour in the state.
A West Bengal-based lawyer Abu Sohel filed the petition in public interest challenging the authority of the Centre to transfer police officers out of a state without the state government’s consent. The provision under challenge was Rule 6(1) of the Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954.
A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhatt was not keen to entertain the petition and dismissed the matter without hearing arguments on merits.
Sohel questioned the rule in the light of constitutional freedoms, in particular the right to equality (Article 14), arguing that the provision provides ‘arbitrary’ discretion in the hands of the Centre and allegedly also impacts the right to dignity of the officers concerned.
The Rule 6(1) provides that a “cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the state government or the state governments concerned and the Central government, be deputed for service under the central government or another state government….provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central government and the state government or state governments concerned shall give effect to the decision of the Central government.”
Sohel’s petition said, “Arbitrary action by the Central government by virtue of the impugned Rule ultimately plays havoc with the right of officers to live a dignified life as guaranteed (by the Constitution).” Further, it claimed that the rule in question created “unjustifiable and illegal deviation” from the original intent of the framers of the Constitution to create harmony between the Centre and the states.
The petition cited a similar instance from the year 2001, where the decision of the Centre to recall three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers from Tamil Nadu led to an ugly spat between the state government and the Centre.