Apex court irked over Bidari's choice as DGP

Apex court irked over Bidari's choice as DGP

SC pulls up Karnataka govt and UPSC

Apex court irked over Bidari's choice as DGP

The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its displeasure at the Karnataka government appointing Shankar M Bidari as police chief replacing N Achutha Rao, who could not complete the minimum two-year tenure as mandated by a 2006 apex court ruling on police reforms.

A bench of Justice Aftab Alam and C K Prasad also pulled up the state government as well as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for clearing the appointment of Bidari in 2011.

“It is sad for the country if the directions of the court depend upon the pleasure of the state government,” the bench observed. “This court has given certain directions. It seems that somebody is overreaching them,” it said.

The bench said that they were “not satisfied” with the decision and explanations of the state government and the UPSC in the matter.

The court referred the case with regard to violation of the apex court ruling to the special bench headed by Chief Justice, which was seized with the enforcement of the verdict on police reforms passed in Prakash Singh’s case in 2006.

‘Worse than Saddam’

The bench, however, decided to hear the plea of Bidari, challenging the March 30 order of the Karnataka High Court. The HC had termed the IPS officer “worse than Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi” for the alleged atrocities committed by the STF team led by him during the hunt to nab forest brigand Veerappan in 2004.

The apex court also sought a response from present Karnataka DGP A R Infant, who replaced Bidari on the direction of the HC, and posted the matter for hearing on April 24.

Senior counsel Uday U Lalit, appearing for the state government, submitted that the appointment of Bidari was cleared by Advocate General B V Acharya.

Claimed that then incumbent Rao was willing to demit the office on his superannuation, he argued that IAS and IPS officers cadre management came under the purview of the Centre.

Lalit also submitted that an application had already been filed in the apex court by state governments of Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra, expressing their inability to follow the two-year term guideline for each occupant of the post of Director General of Police (DGP).

Court unrelenting

But the court seemed unconvinced. “Neither have we modified the order nor stayed it. The issue had been decided. You are bound to follow the order,” the bench said.

The court also referred to Vishakha judgment where some guidelines to prevent sexual harassment of women at the workplace were laid down in the absence of statute which were being followed by all institutions.

“We accept that there is a direction but the Supreme Court is hearing the plea for modification of the order (two-year term),” Lalit said.

To this, the bench countered, “If the apex court is in seizure of the matter, does that mean that the order is nullified?”

Advocate Binu Tamta, appearing for the UPSC, submitted that after a request was received on November 2, 2011 for the appointment to the post of DGP, it wrote back asking the state government to explain if they had taken leave from the apex court in the matter as two-year tenure of the incumbent was not complete.

“It was the duty of the UPSC to hold empanelment but ultimately the decision rested with the state government,” she said.

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