SC restricts state govts' role in appointment of DGPs

State governments should no more pick and choose any candidate for the post of Director General of Police, instead the Union Public service Commission will do the job for them, as per a new Supreme Court directive.

State governments should send their proposals for DGPs to the UPSC three months before an incumbent DGP is due to retire and the UPSC will prepare a list of officers fit to be DGP in the state concerned and send them back. The state shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC, says the Supreme Court.
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra passed a series of directions on an application for the modification of a 22 September 2006 judgment pronounced by the court in a petition filed by former IPS officer Prakash Singh for reforms and transparency in the functioning and appointments in the State police forces.
The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, also said that endeavour should be made that a person, who had been selected and appointed as DGP, has reasonable period of service left.
The court also directed the States to “ensure that DGP is appointed through a merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.”
The apex court also ruled that any rule or state law on the subject of appointment of police officers "will be kept at abeyance".
The bench, however, granted liberty to the states, which have made laws on police appointments, to move before it seeking modification of its order.
The court had passed seven directives, primarily to “ensure that State governments do not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police.”
The directions came on a plea of the centre seeking modification of the judgment rendered in the Prakash Singh case on police reforms.
The Supreme Court’s decision to restrict the choice of state governments in appointment of DGPs comes more than a decade after introducing reforms to free the police from political influence.
On Tuesday, Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that of 24 states only five — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Rajasthan — have implemented the 2006 directions.
Venugopal submitted that some state governments even go to the extent of appointing their “favourite” officers as DGP just before their superannuation so that they could continue in service after retirement date. He added that some states appointed “acting DGPs.”
The CJI said such “subterfuges” cannot be acceptable “by any analysis of the judgment” of 2006. “There is no concept of acting DGPs,” the court ordered.
The States shall appoint “a person as permanent DGP.” That person shall continue for two years despite the date of superannuation. The States shall “avoid” appointing a person as DGP just before his or her superannuation and let them continue for the next two years.