A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the JMM-Congress-RJD government in Jharkhand to transfer the DGP upon coming into power in December, 2019, and appointing an acting DGP, on the grounds that it violates the court's Prakash Singh ruling regarding fixed tenure and seniority of state police chiefs.
The petition, by social activist Prahlad Narayan Singh, narrates that on the superannuation of D. K. Pandey, the then Director General of Police, Jharkhand, the Government of Jharkhand initiated the process of appointment of a new DGP as per the guidelines and Directions given by the Apex Court in Prakash Singh's case. Sometime in the month of March-April, 2019, a panel of eligible senior high ranking police officers who also had sufficient left-over service was referred to the UPSC as per the directives given by the top court and upon final recommendation and consideration of the judgment in Prakash Singh's case, Kamal Nayan Choubey, IPS was appointed as Director General of Police for the State of Jharkhand.
The plea, filed through advocate Sanchit Garga, urges that after the Assembly elections of December 2019, a new JMM led government has been formed in the State of Jharkhand and the new government any how wanted to bring one Mr. M.V.Rao, an officer fourth in seniority but their favourite on the post of DGP.
"There was no complaint against Mr. Choubey and he also did not represent the government for his transfer / posting elsewhere, therefore there was no occasion for the State Government to disturb his posting also on account of the fact that he was appointed upon fulfilment of all the conditions and after competition of the procedure as ordained by this Hon'ble Court", it is submitted.
It is argued that for no valid reasons Choubey has been transferred from the post of Director General of Police to the post of Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to Police modernization Division Camp in New Delhi, even though he had served for a tenure of about nine months only.
"By way of the said notification dated 16.03.2020 Mr. M. V. Rao, an IPS officer of 1987 batch has been surprisingly given additional charge of DGP for the state of Jharkhand who is already serving as Director General (Fire services & Home Guard), State of Jharkhand", the plea further avers.
It is advanced that as per the official website of the Jharkhand Police, in the civil list 2019 for IPS, the present "In-charge DGP" of the State of Jharkhand, Rao, is at serial no. 4 in seniority. So obviously the procedure as directed by the top Court as well as his suitability qua the other available officers has not been considered. Thus, his appointment on the post of DGP in the name of "In-charge DGP" is out and out unlawful, in teeth of the orders passed by this Court and rather in gross violation of the principles/Directions laid down by this Prakash Singh's Case. "This act of the State of Jharkhand is contemptuous", it is contended.
"Due to the aforesaid unlawful act of the State Government the entire state of Jharkhand is suffering. As per the news reported by ANINEWS dated 11.05.2020 (after the additional charge given to the present acting DGP, State of Jharkhand), the incidents of Naxal-linked arson and murder during March end to April this year have been higher than the last corresponding period", the plea alleges.
It is urged that the removal of the earlier DGP, who was an efficient and competent officer and also amongst three senior most IPS officer of the state, is a "political and whimsical" move and a "good officer has been made a victim of some Political vendetta".
It is pointed out that the appointment of the acting DGP by the state of Jharkhand is in gross violation of the top court's order dated 03.07.2018 in Prakash Singh, holding that "none of the States shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of DGP on acting basis", for there is no concept of acting DGP as per the decision in Prakash Singh's case.
"It is unfathomable as to how a State Government can flout the law laid down by this Hon'ble Court so openly and in complete defiance by turning a blind eye to the law laid down by this Hon'ble Court", it is stated.
It further pressed that the "high handedness of the State Government" has to be "nipped in the bud" before they succeed in their "unlawful motives" and "dictate appointments" of high ranking officials as per their "whims and fancies".
One of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the 2006 Prakash Singh case was to the effect that a DGP (HoPF) shall be selected from amongst the three senior-most officers of the Department, who have been empanelled for promotion, by the UPSC. It was also mentioned that the Commission, in turn, shall take into account, length of service, very good record and range of experience for heading the police force. And, once he has been selected for the job, he should have a minimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation.