CAT may put lid on political clout

CAT may put lid on political clout

It stresses on seniority and merit; decries influence

What does the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on the appointment of Shankar Bidari as Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG&IGP) mean for the State police force?

What does it convey to the top brass of the police?

That the use of political clout by an IPS officer to bag the police chief’s post cannot sustain him for too long. Well-placed sources say the CAT order sends a “good message” against the use of political clout.

“The government should consider only the seniority and merit of an IPS officer in the appointment of DG&IGP. Heeding one’s political connections in such matters will neither help the government nor the police force,” the sources said. The CAT order is good not only for the police force, but also for all government departments.

The appointment of the DG&IGP has been a major headache for the government, especially after the erstwhile DG&IGP, Ajai Kumar Singh, demitted office on January 31, 2011.

The Supreme Court, in its order in the Prakash Singh case in 2006, had held that the DG&IGP should be selected from among the senior-most officers.

The government was to send a list of senior-most IPS officers of the rank of DGP to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), which was to empanel three of them for the job.

At that time, there were four IPS officers of DGP rank in the State. Jija Madhavan Harisingh and Sharath Saxena were to retire the same day as Ajai Kumar Singh. Thus, only D V Guruprasad and S T Ramesh were left in the fray.

Confusion first began when Bidari, then Commissioner of Bangalore City Police and an ADGP-rank IPS officer, wrote to the UPSC and the Chief Secretary, saying all IPS officers with 30 years of service be considered for the DG&IGP’s post.

Consequently, the UPSC sought the names of all IPS officers with 30 years of service. Guruprasad, however, moved CAT on January 20, 2011, against the UPSC communication.

As a result, CAT stayed the operation of Bidari’s letter, paving the way for empanelment of only DGP-rank officers.

Hurried appointment

The government hurriedly appointed Ramesh acting DG&IGP the same day Ajai Kumar Singh retired. Although Guruprasad was senior to Ramesh, the government picked the latter as the CAT had not given its final ruling.

In its final order on Guruprasad’s petition, CAT asked the government to send to UPSC the names of only DGP-rank officers and appoint a regular DG&IGP by June 1, 2011. Time, however, had run out for both Guruprasad and Ramesh as they were to retire on July 31. The government then appointed Neelam Achuta Rao on July 5, giving him a brief tenure till his retirement on November 30.

After Rao, the senior-most IPS officer, A R Infant, should have been made the DG&IGP. But Bidari’s political clout gave him an edge and he bagged the post. Infant then challenged the appointment in CAT, which gave its ruling on Friday.

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