Clarifying last year’s order on police reforms in the Prakash Singh Badal case, the Supreme Court today said that only officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service should be considered for the post of Director General of Police (DGP). A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the recommendation for post of DGP by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and preparation of the panel should be purely on the basis of merit.
The apex court passed the verdict on a modification plea filed by former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh. Singh had alleged that the July 3, 2018, directive was being misused by state governments who were ignoring competent senior officers for appointment as DGPs. The court had in July last year passed a slew of directions on police reforms and restrained all states and Union territories from appointing any police officer as acting DGPs to avoid favouritism and nepotism in such high-level appointments.
It had stated that the states will have to send a list of senior police officers to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent. The commission will then prepare a panel and intimate the states, which in turn will immediately appoint one of the persons from that list. The apex court, while deciding the PIL filed by two former DGPs Prakash Singh and N K Singh in 2006, had issued several directions, including setting up of a state security commission, to ensure the government does not exercise unwarranted influence on the police. It had said the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police (SPs) should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years.