The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with the Jammu and Kashmir government appointing an acting director general of police (DGP). A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud issued notice and sought a reply from the Centre.
The state government on 6 September appointed Dilbagh Singh as acting police chief, replacing SP Vaid who was posted as transport commissioner. During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal, who appeared for the Centre, said the prohibition to appoint an acting DGP was introduced to prevent misuse of the two-year fixed tenure given in an earlier verdict of the apex court.
Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, said the appointment of an acting DGP was purely an interim measure to tide over the peculiar situation till a regular appointment was made in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). "We cannot afford the police force to be without a chief," he said, citing the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Alam added that the government had initiated the process of consulting with the UPSC within 12 hours of Vaid's transfer.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing petitioner Prakash Singh, said the DGP cannot be removed without consultation with the state security commissioner. Referring to Singh, he said the move was gross misconduct as the acting DGP appointed was number five in seniority and earlier suspended in a recruitment scam.
In response Alam said the acting DGP's appointment was merely an "in-charge" appointment, reiterating that the UPSC has been consulted. "We will select a DGP from the panel cleared by the UPSC," he added.
However, Singh was not allowed to take charge on the grounds that his appointment amounts to contempt. The Supreme Court bench scheduled the next hearing for next week.
#SupremeCourt seeks Attorney General's views on appointment of new DGP by Jammu and Kashmir govt. J&K has sought permission to skip certain norms to let new DGP Dilbagh Singh take charge but it has been opposed on the ground this appointment amounts to contempt. @utkarsh_aanand
— News18 Courtroom (@News18Courtroom) September 11, 2018
On Friday, the state government had approached the Supreme Court to explain the reason behind appointing an interim DGP in the state without consulting the UPSC, as mandated by the court in July. The Jammu and Kashmir government removed Vaid as the police chief on 6 September and appointed Singh, who was the Director General of Prisons, as an interim head of the force contrary to the guidelines of the Supreme Court, which had ruled in July that there will be no ad hoc arrangement for the post of police chief in the states.
In July, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had passed a slew of directions for appointment of state police chiefs. "All states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the UPSC well in time, at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent on the post of Director General of Police," the bench had said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 11, 2018 18:18:14 IST