The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today declined to interfere with the prayer of senior IPS officer T P Senkumar to set aside the order of the Kerala government removing him from the post of state police chief.
Citing Supreme Court directives in similar cases, the CAT bench headed by Justice N K Balakrishnan said the government is well within its authority to appoint another person in a cadre.
However, the bench said salary and emoluments of the officer cannot be reduced and a government order in this regard should be issued in a month.
Senkumar, who had been made Chairman and Managing Director of Kerala Police Housing and Construction Corporation on state deputation after removing him from the post of state police chief, had submitted that as a member of the 1983 Kerala cadre IPS batch, he was the senior most IPS officer in the state.
He had also contended that new DGP Loknath Behera belongs to the 1985 batch and is hence junior to him.
In a top-level reshuffle on May 31 after taking over the reins of the state following the assembly elections, the CPI(M)-led LDF government had shifted Senkumar and appointed Behera in his place.
Challenging it, Senkumar also contended that he had been removed from the post in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines and also of Section 97 (1) of Kerala Police Act.
However, justifying Senkumar’s removal, the Kerala government had submitted that the stand adopted by him in cases related to Puttingal temple fireworks tragedy and murder of a Dalit woman in Perumbavoor lowered the status of police.
The rejoinder was submitted during the hearing on the petition by Senkumar challenging his removal as state police chief.
Senkumar had said that as the state police chief, he had taken a “very difficult and effective role” in investigating the murder case in Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district and the temple fireworks tragedy in Puttingal in Kollam district.
( Source – PTI )