Arbitrary suspensions make a mockery of police reforms

Arbitrary suspensions make a mockery of police reforms

The PEB, constituted in accordance with Supreme Court directives about two months ago, was intended to be a watchdog body on the issue of police transfers and postings since it was designed to eliminate political interference in the process. Headed by the State Director-General of Police and three other officers of the rank of DGP, constituting a PEB was one of the recommendations the State government had accepted as part of a larger police reforms goal. That objective, government sources said, remains far from being fulfilled.

The Supreme Court had earlier made it clear that police officers  must have a minimum two years’ tenure in any posting. A built-in safeguard was the officers’ right to approach the administrative tribunal if they felt that their transfers were arbitrary. Besides, the apex court’s ruling was aimed at enabling officers to discharge their duties without fear or favour.

There was a time when officers, specially at the level of inspectors, hankered after postings in Bangalore city, as they were considered “prestigious” and “lucrative” for several reasons. Ruling party MLAs too had a say in such postings.

But now it is alleged that vested interests, who find the PEB an obstacle in posting officers of their choice to “lucrative” police stations, have discovered a novel method: place the incumbent officers under suspension to pave the way for the favoured ones to succeed them.

In the last couple of months, as many as 12 inspectors have been put under suspension and departmental inquiries ordered against them.

The inspectors of Rammurthynagar, Mahalaxmi Layout, Wilson Garden, Devanhalli, Yashwanthpur, Siddapur, Kalasipalyam, Hanumanthanagar, Madiwala, Ashoknagar, Chandra Layout and an inspector of CCB have been left to cool their heels.

An aggrieved inspector said: “We have become easy targets for suspension. If a superior officer doesn’t like someone or if there are orders from above to get rid of him, then his days are numbered. Since an inspector must serve a minimum of two years on a posting, the suspension weapon is used to accommodate favoured candidates.”

Clean-up act

When recent instances of suspensions and grievances of officers were brought to the notice of Home Minister V S Acharya, he told Deccan Herald, “To a large extent, we have cleaned up the process and of late, all transfers are done through the Police Establishment Board. But if some individuals have been targeted and injustice meted out, we will rectify (such mistakes) and reinstate them.”