Supreme Court to hear next week PIL challenging appointment of acting DGP in Jharkhand

The Supreme Court Thursday said it would hear next week a PIL challenging the Jharkhand government’s decision to appoint M V Rao as the acting Director General of Police (DGP).

Rao, an IPS officer of 1987 batch, was given the additional charge of DGP on March 16 after the then DGP Kamal Nayan Choubey was transferred as an officer on special duty (OSD) in the Police Modernisation Division Camp in New Delhi.

The plea has challenged the appointment of acting DGP alleging that the decision violates the top court’s orders regarding fixed tenure and seniority of state police chiefs.

The matter came up for hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde which granted time to petitioner Prahlad Narayan Singh to file additional documents.

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, asked the petitioner’s counsel to make Choubey, the former DGP, as a party to the case.

At the request of R Venkatramani, senior counsel appearing for the petitioner, list the matter next week to enable him to file annexures/additional documents, the bench said.

The apex court told the petitioner that the Centre’s order be also placed on record.

Senior advocate N K Kaul and Jharkhand’s advocate general Rajiv Ranjan appeared for the state.

Singh, who hails from Giridih district and claims to be a social activist, has alleged in his plea filed through advocate Sanchit Garga that he is aggrieved by the blatant violation and disregard of orders of the top court with regard to appointment of “in-charge DGP” in the state by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led government “to satisfy their political interest”.

The plea claimed that Rao, who stands fourth in seniority of Jharkhand-cadre IPS officers, was already holding charge of the Director General (Fire services and Home Guard).

It claimed that Choubey was transferred within 10months of his appointment as the DGP “just to accommodate M V Rao, who is otherwise not eligible but a favourite of the JMM-led government”.

It alleged that Rao has been unlawfully appointed as in-charge DGP in gross violation of the directives and guidelines given by this court with regard to the appointment and tenure of DGP in every state.

The state’s action “clearly demonstrates that the removal of the earlier DGP (Chaubey)…is political and whimsical and a good officer has been made a victim of some political vendetta, the plea has alleged.

It has sought a direction to the Jharkhand government to end the interim arrangement and re-instate Chaubey in the post of DGP with immediate effect.

It has also sought a direction to the Centre, the Jharkhand government and the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), to comply with the law laid down by the apex court in the Praksah Singh versus Union of India case of 2006.

The top court has passed a slew of directions on police reforms on a PIL of former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh, fixing two-year tenure for police chiefs and restraining states from appointing acting DGPs.

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