SC says no to states on appointment of DGP

SC says no to states on appointment of DGP

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a contention that police being an exclusive state subject under the Constitution, the choice of the Director General of Police should be left to the states.

“We are left with no doubt that the directions in the judgement in Prakash Singh case (2006) are wholesome and if the same are implemented, it will subserve public interest until such time that the matter is heard finally,” a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The court also relied upon the previous orders issued on July 3, 2018 stating all the states shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the Union Public Service Commission, at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent in the post of DGP; the UPSC shall prepare the panel and intimate to the states; the state shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel and; none of the states shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person to the post on acting basis.

The top court declined to modify the directions issued in the Prakash Singh case and further orders passed last year, saying those would not require any correction or modification.

States of Punjab, Bihar, Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana led by senior advocates P Chidambaram, Ranjit Kumar, Vijay Hansaria, Anand Grover and Ajay Bansal sought modification of the orders laying their emphasis on the provisions contained in Entry 2 of List II of the Constitution to contend that police being exclusive state subject, the choice of the DGP should be left to the state.

Doubtful validity

Attorney General K K Venugopal, however, referred to the Entry 70 List I to contend that All India Services being within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Union, appointment of the DGP by the state authorities would be of doubtful legal validity.

“In deference to the federal structure under the Constitution, the Union had suggested that a composite committee consisting of representatives of the Union government and the state government concerned should decide the matter,” he said.

Union Public Service Commission Secretary Rakesh Kumar Gupta, who appeared personally on the court's request, submitted that post Prakash Singh judgement and subsequent order, a panel of eligible officers are selected by it for appointment to the post of DGP.