The Kolkata Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal today set aside the appointments of five IPS officers to the post of Director General of Police in West Bengal, including the present DGP, with the state government hinting at moving a higher court.
The Tribunal, acting on a petition by IPS officer Nazrul Islam challenging not being granted promotion as DGP, set aside the appointments, thus implying that five DGPs would have to vacate their posts.
The five officers were West Bengal DGP G M P Reddy, Ravinderjit Singh Nalwa (DGP Homeguard), Vijay Kumar (DGP Enforcement), Anil Kumar (DGP Armed Police) and Raj Kanojia (DGP Coastal Security).
Islam's counsel Surojit Samanta said that based on documents he received under RTI, the IPS officer claimed in his petition that a selection committee constituted on December five, 2012, suffered from illegalities in its constitution.
It was also claimed that the persons who sat in the committee had not acted in accordance with the rules for the selection process.
The state Advocate General opposed the petition.
Justice (retd) Pratap Kumar Ray, member judicial and R Bandopadhyay, administrative member, hearing both the parties, held that constitution of the selection committee was illegal.
"Therefore, all consequential actions of the committee have been set aside and quashed by the Tribunal," Samanta said.
"This means that the five DGPs, appointed by virtue of that selection by the committee on December five, 2012, would have to vacate their posts forthwith," the counsel said.
Commenting on the CAT order, Home Secretary Basudeb Banerjee told reporters "All legal options are open to the state government including appeal to the higher courts, high court." "The state government at this moment is not contemplating any administrative action with regard to this order, Banerjee said.
Stating that the government was yet to get a certified copy of the order, he said "A number of issues have been raised which we would later delve into seriously and study in depth.
"We have heard that some observations have been made in that order on matters like departmental proceedings. We think that departmental proceedings particularly with regard to senior officers is a serious matter and it cannot at all be taken lightly."
The Tribunal directed the state government to set up a fresh selection committee, which will sit on February 18 and consider all those eligible as on December five, 2012, afresh.
This would include Nazrul Islam, who is at present in the rank of ADG, Samanta said.
The committee would declare the results on February 19, where after the recommendations would be implemented by the state government, the Tribunal directed. Islam, who was sidelined by the then Left Front government in West Bengal, was taken to the Railways by Mamata Banerjee when she was the Railway Minister.
He was brought back to the state after Banerjee took over as the chief minister.
The IPS officer reportedly fell apart with the present government and is at present posted as ADG, Provisioning. He moved the CAT after he was allegedly not considered for promotion.