The Supreme Court’s verdict in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case delivered in 2006 is considered historic, for it showed the way forward for the much-needed police reforms in the country and ridding the police force of political interference. A little over a decade on, most of the state governments are not only going against the judgment of the highest court in the country but also making a mockery of it. The latest to do so is the government of Andhra Pradesh, which is all set to appoint a Director-General of Police (DGP) who is set to retire in six months.
As per the apex court verdict, a DGP must have a minimum fixed tenure of two years and he/she must be appointed from amongst the three senior-most officers empanelled for promotion by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) based on parameters such as good record, experience, service, etc.
However, the Andhra Pradesh government has sidestepped the UPSC after the latter rejected twice a panel of seven officers forwarded by the state government, pointing out that three of the officers are on the verge of retirement and as such, could not be considered for appointment as DGP. Meanwhile, in its eagerness to appoint a person of its choice, the state government has promulgated an ordinance amending the State Police Act.
The Andhra government is not the first to sabotage the court verdict. Earlier this year, the Mamata Banerjee government had extended the term of the DGP though he was to retire after six months in office, citing the court’s judgment! At a time like this when states are doing exactly the opposite of what the court had directed—using the same court’s verdict—to appoint their favourites to the key post, the Union Home Ministry has rightly asked the court itself to clarify its order on the tenure of the DGP. It is true that Police is a state subject but the behaviour of the states in this respect shows utter contempt for the Supreme Court.