Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

Consult UPSC for selecting police chiefs, SC tells States

The News

  • The Supreme Court restrained the State governments from appointing Directors-General of Police without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).


News Summary


  • In 1996, a petition was filed before the Supreme Court that raised various instances of abuse of power by the police, and alleged that police personnel perform their duties in a politically partisan manner.
  • In 2006, the court passed seven directives in Prakash Singh vs Union of India case, primarily to ensure that State governments do not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police.



Issue with appointment and fixed tenure to DGPs:

  • Appointment of DGP: States said that implementation of the Directive to involve UPSC in the empanelment process (for the post of DGP) is beyond the scope and authority of the state governments.
  • Regarding the direction to provide a minimum tenure of two years to DGP, irrespective of the date of superannuation, the state governments projected their inability in its implementation on the ground that the said subject belongs to the domain of the All India Service (AIS) Rules, which are framed by the Union Government.


Home Ministry’s observation:

  • The Home Ministry complained that the majority of States didn’t comply with the 2006 order and suggested a remedy that DGPs should have two-year tenures subject to superannuation.
  • The Home Ministry insisted that only those officers be included in the panel who have a year-and-a-half to two years to retire.
  • For above changes, the Home Ministry filed an application in 2017 to modify the original judgment.
  • However experts believe that above are an excuse to modify the original order of two-year fixed tenure as the Centre wanted to dilute the 2006 Supreme Court judgment.


Poor compliance:

  • Mr. Prakash Singh, who had first moved the petition in the court on police reforms, said distortions had crept in the appointment of DGPs as “political masters” wanted these posts to be filled with their choice.
  • As per him, distortion and aberrations had crept into the procedure regarding the appointment of DGPs and the manner in which it was being manipulated by political masters with the connivance of the bureaucracy.
  • These distortions were brought to the notice of the court. And a fresh petition was filed before SC for enforcement of 2006 order with modification.


Modified SC direction:

  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice passed the directions on an application by the Centre for modification of a 2006 judgment for reforms in the police forces.
  • The State government concerned has to send to the service commission the names of the probable three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a list of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back. It shall, as far as practicable, choose the people who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State, in turn, shall ‘immediately’ appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the commission.


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