In a setback to the state government, the High Court on Thursday struck down the appointment of V Dinesh Reddy as the director-general of police (head of the police force).
Upholding the verdict of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that had previously found fault with the appointment, a division bench of the court directed the state government to appoint a new man to the post after following the due procedure: sending names of the senior-most IPS officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Judges G Raghuram and M S Ramachandra Rao also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on the state government for appealing against the CAT order.
The High Court wanted the new appointment made within four weeks. Till then, Dinesh Reddy will officiate as DGP without the perks and allowances payable to the head of the police force.
The verdict triggered speculation that the state government would go in for appeal in the Supreme Court. But the view in the government is that Dinesh Reddy’s position may not change even if the due procedure suggested by High Court is followed.
As things stand, Dinesh Reddy happens to be the senior-most IPS officer in the state, with officers senior to him having been removed from the picture for various reasons in the last few months. Umesh Kumar, senior to Dinesh from the 1977 batch, is currently under suspension while Gautam Kumar of the 1975 batch has already opted for voluntary retirement, which was accepted. Another senior officer, A Sivasankar also of the 1977 batch, retired recently.
However, if the Supreme Court’s directions in the Prakash Singh case -- a minimum tenure of two years for DGP -- were to be followed, there is a possiblity of an DG-rank officer junior to Dinesh Reddy being appointed as the state police chief.
If three names are indeed sent to the UPSC, the officers so shortlisted -- apart from Dinesh Reddy himself -- may be from among T P Das, Aruna Bahuguna, B Prasada Rao and S A Huda -- all of the 1979 batch. Another officer of that batch, Ashok Prasad has already been appointed as DGP of Jammu & Kashmir.
Caustic in its comments, the bench was of the view that the state consciously and consistently disregarded the unambigious directive of the Supreme court delivered in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case on appointments of DGPs.