In a setback to Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Haryana, the Supreme Court on Wednesday January 16 declined their plea seeking they be allowed to appoint Director General of state police through their own selection process instead of approaching the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Dismissing the applications by the six states seeking modification of July 3, 2018, order mandating them to approach the UPSC for preparing a panel for the appointment of DGPs, a Supreme Court bench said the order was "wholesome" and in "public interest".
The bench comprised Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
The states contended that policing was the State subject and that they alone should have the power to appoint the head of the police force.
The court order came after UPSC Secretary told the court that after the 2006 judgement, giving direction for ushering in police reforms, the Commission had issued guidelines for the appointment of DGPs in the states.
The top court had directed that all the “states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the UPSC” at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent DGP
The Supreme Court had on July 3 2018 prohibited the states governments to refrain from appointing acting police chiefs upon superannuation of an incumbent top cop.
"None of the states shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of DGP on acting basis" as there is no concept of acting DGP in the top court's 2006 directions for ushering in police reforms," said the July 3 order.
The top court had directed that all the "states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the UPSC" at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent DGP.
The UPSC, the July 3 order had said, would prepare a panel of three senior-most officers with a reasonable remaining tenure up to retirement (two years or close to it) and send it to the state government to pick one for appointment as police chief.
"The state shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel, the court said, adding merit and seniority should be given due weightage," the order had said.