Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

States cannot pick police chiefs on their own: SC

The News

  • In order to insulate the top police chiefs from the pulls and pressures of the political executive, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the appointment of Director Generals of Police in states should be in accordance with the recommendation of UPSC.

Context

  • Recently, 5 states including Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar had filed petitions in the Supreme Court urging it to modify its order relating to appointment of state police chiefs.
  • The aforesaid states have been urging to be allowed to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their State police chiefs citing local reasons.

Background

Appointment of DGP

  • The State government prepares a list of names of probables for the position of DGP.
  • This list is then sent to UPSC three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent DGP.
  • The UPSC then shortlists a panel of three officers giving due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State is to then “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.

Differing States

  • Various states have brought in laws which are at variance with the procedure at various times citing local conditions.
  • Punjab, Kerala and Bihar have passed laws in contrast to the procedure citing own state conditions.
  • Further, the states also appoint ‘Acting DGPs’ in the states.
  • Some states do not follow the fixed-tenure rule of 2 years.
  • Further, some states have appointed officers as DGP on the date of their retirement so that they would continue to serve for another two years till the age of 62.

Highlights of the Ruling

  • The apex court has laid down a procedure that states would have to follow while appointing state police chiefs.
  • It also gives for a fixed minimum tenure rule.
  • The Court has directed the states to allow the DGP appointed to continue in office despite his or her date of superannuation only for a “reasonable period”.
  • The apex court has ordered the states to discontinue the practice of appointing “Acting DGPs”.
  • Further, it has kept at abeyance any rule or state law on the subject of appointment of police officers.

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