The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which challenged the Jharkhand Government's decision to appoint MV Rao as the Acting Director General of Police (DGP) as it allegedly contravened the directions of the Apex Court regarding fixed tenure and seniority of State Police Chiefs.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian refused to entertain the matter on the grounds that the Petitioner could not file a PIL while being personally concerned with the issue at hand. Senior Advocate R. Venkataramani, appearing on behalf of the Petitioner, submitted to the Court that the law laid down in Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006) had not been complied with by the State of Jharkhand as well as the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Senior Advocates Fali S. Nariman and Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing on behalf of State of Jharkhand, averred that this was essentially a service matter and the Court could not intervene in the same. Kaul referred to it as "proxy litigation". The CJI concurred and informed Venkataramani that a PIL could not be filed if the Petitioner was personally concerned with the matter. This was refuted by the Senior Counsel who submitted that he was an aspirant and a resident of Jharkhand. Further, the ambit of Article 32 allowed him to approach the Court as dismissing the plea would entail that many similar opportunities would be in jeopardy. The CJI, however, was not inclined to allow the submission. "You have come to the Court with a public cause; a public cause seeking reforms in the police force cannot be a service matter. So, please do not equate yourself with the Prakash Singh case. We will not entertain this matter. If we find that the Respondents are not following the norms, that will be something else. But, the point here remains that you are not anyone in service", stated the CJI. Accordingly, the PIL was dismissed. The plea, filed by Advocate Sanchit Garga on behalf of social activist Prahlad Narayan Singh, submitted that the appointment of Rao was a clear-cut violation and disregard of orders of the Supreme Court which pertained to the appointment and tenure of a DGP in every State. Further, it was claimed that Rao stood fourth in seniority of Jharkhand-cadre IPS officers and was already holding charge of the Director-General (Fire Services and Home Guard). Therefore, the appointment of Rao by the State "clearly demonstrates that the removal of the earlier DGP is political and whimsical and a good officer has been made a victim of some political vendetta", submitted the plea. In light of the above, the plea sought for directions to the Central Government, State of Jharkhand and UPSC to adhere to the directions given in the Prakash Singh case.