SC steers clear of J-K government’s decision to appoint acting DGP
A chief justice Dipak Misra-led bench asked Venugopal to give his opinion on the appointment following advocate Prashant Bhushan’s objection to Dilbagh Singh’s ad-hoc appointment as the state’s police chief.Updated: Sep 11, 2018 23:17 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with the Jammu and Kashmir government’s move to appoint an acting director general of police (DGP) without hearing attorney general KK Venugopal’s views on the issue.
A chief justice Dipak Misra-led bench asked Venugopal to give his opinion on the appointment following advocate Prashant Bhushan’s objection to Dilbagh Singh’s ad-hoc appointment as the state’s police chief.
Singh replaced S P Vaid as the DGP on September 6; days after detained relatives of militants were swapped to secure the release of abducted family members of several policemen on August 31.
Bhushan said Singh’s appointment violated the court’s July 3 judgment prohibiting appointments of acting DGPs. He added there was no reason to remove Vaid. Bhushan claimed Vaid was asked to leave without any charge or consultation with state security commission as required as per the court’s judgment.
Jammu and Kashmir government’s lawyer, Shoeb Alam, said Dilbagh Singh’s appointment was purely an interim measure to tide over “the peculiar situation” till a regular appointment is made.
“We cannot afford the police force to be without a chief,” he said, citing the law and order situation in Valley.
The court is expected to hear the matter next week.
The state government has moved the top court seeking a modification of its July 3 order that restrained all states and Union territories from appointing any police officer as acting DGP to avoid favouritism and nepotism.
States are also required to send names of three senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers well in advance to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for clearance before appointing an officer to the post of DGP.
The direction in the July 3 verdict was issued in a case filed by retired IPS officer Prakash Singh for police reforms.
In an application submitted to the top court, the state government justified Dilbagh Singh’s appointment saying J&K could not have been without a police chief especially in view of the local bodies’ polls in October and November.
Alam said in compliance with the Supreme Court order, a list of three officers was sent to the UPSC within 12 hours of the appointment.
In his submission, Venugopal said the court’s order in the Prakash Singh case was to prevent misuse of the two-year fixed tenure stipulated in an earlier verdict. Several states, he said, were making appointments of DGPs on an acting basis and confirming them on the eve of superannuation.
Bhushan, appearing for Prakash Singh, said Dilbagh Singh was earlier suspended in a recruitment scam and the J&K government had committed contempt by appointing him. He took the court’s permission to file a formal contempt application against the state.