In all likelihood, Singh will hand over charge to a DGP “in-charge” who will function in that capacity before the state government names a regular successor. Late Sunday evening, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is believed to have met Ramesh, leading to intense sepculation in the top echelons of the Karnataka police that he would take charge as DGP on Monday. But there was no confirmation on whether the chief minister had signed the order appointing Ramesh as the state police chief.
If there is any delay in appointing a regular DGP, the state government may move the Supreme Court to settle the strange situation. A senior state administration officer has been directed to be at the Supreme Court by Monday to help the raise the matter with the help of an additional solicitor general.
The present confusion is the result of a January 24 stay order by the Bangalore bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on a Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) notification seeking the names of all IPS officer who have completed 30 years of service and are in a position to become DGPs.
Criminal Investigation Department chief D V Guruprasad, one of two contenders for the top police job, filed a petition with the CAT, seeking a stay on the UPSC’s directive. Guruprasad’s argument was that he should be appointed the DGP since he was the seniormost among all the DG-rank officers. The other is S T Ramesh who, like Guruprasad, belongs to the 1976 batch.
The are in the race for the top job since three DGP-rank officers, Jija Hari Singh, Sharath Sexena and outgoing DG&IGP Singh, were to retire on January 31.
When the state government sent in the names of Guruprasad and Ramesh to the UPSC, Bangalore Commissioner of Police Shankar Bidari objected why the names of only two officers were being recommended.
In his letter to the UPSC, with copies to the state chief secretary and home secretary, Bidari cited a 2006 Supreme Court judgement in response to a PIL by two former DGPs N K Singh and Prakash Singh in 1996.
The Supreme Court order directed all state governments to send to the UPSC a panel comprising the names of three officers every time the DGP post was to be filled.
But Bidari’s contention was that at least nine names should be sent by the state government.
The UPSC then asked the Karnataka government to send the names of all eligible officers and not just that of two.
The state government objected to this, citing All India IPS officers’ payscale rules notified by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The government argued that the selection of a DGP&IGP should be based on seniority.
The UPSC, however, insisted that all names of IPS officers enjoying DGP payscale be sent to it.
It was at this juncture that Guruprasad went to CAT and obtained a stay as a result of which a confusion has now arisen on who will take over from Singh. Guruprasad is senior to Ramesh by a few months and is due to retire in July 2011.
This makes him the obvious choice, though the chief minister will have to take a decision on who he wants as DGP.
This is not the first time the government is in an eleventh hour fix over who to appoint as DGP. In 2005, B N P Albuquerque took charge around 8:30 pm after then chief minister Dharam Singh took time to appoint him.
Despite several attempts neither Chief Secretary S V Ranganath nor Home Secretary Shiva Kumar could be reached for comments on the delay over appointing a new DGP.