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SC to hear pleas of Bihar, Punjab govt on UPSC assistance in appointing DGPs

SC to hear pleas of Bihar, Punjab govt on UPSC assistance in appointing DGPs
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The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear the pleas of Bihar and Punjab seeking modification of an earlier order directing states to mandatorily take the assistance of UPSC in shortlisting the names for appointing Director General of Police (DGP).

The top court, on July 3 this year, passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country and chronicled the steps for appointment of regular DGPs.

It stated that the states will have to send a list of senior police officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at least three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent. The commission will then prepare a panel and intimate to the states, which in turn will immediately appoint one of the persons from that list.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul was on Friday told by the governments of Bihar and Punjab that the July 3 order needed to be modified as they have already come out with the state laws to deal with the issue of appointment of DGP.

Lawyer Shoeb Alam, appearing for Bihar, said the state has already framed a comprehensive law, dealing with various aspects including the procedures to appoint the DGP, in pursuance of the 2006 apex court verdict on police reforms.

He said the apex court's direction on the appointment of the DGP needed to be modified.

Senior lawyer P Chidambaram appeared for the Punjab government. The apex court has now fixed the pleas of both states for hearing on December 7.

The West Bengal government has also filed a similar plea. Earlier, the apex court had passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country and had restrained all states and union territories from appointing any police officer as acting DGPs.

The top court's direction had come on an application filed by the Centre in which it claimed that certain states have been appointing acting DGPs and then making them permanent just before the date of their superannuation to enable them get the benefit of an additional two-year tenure till the age of 62 years.

The bench had ordered keeping in abeyance any rule or legislation framed by any of the states or the Centre running counter to the earlier direction of the court.

The court, however, had said that if any state has a grievance with regard to the directions, then they may approach it for modification of the order.

The apex court, on September 8 last year, had agreed to hear a clutch of pleas observing that its historic 2006 verdict on police reforms, recommending steps like fixed tenures for DGPs and SPs, has not yet been implemented by states and union territories.

The apex court, while deciding the PIL filed by two former DGPs Prakash Singh and N K Singh in 2006, had issued several directions, including setting up of a state security commission, to ensure that the government does not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.

It had said the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police (SPs) should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years.

(With inputs from agencies.)



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