A quo-warranto writ challenging the appointment of K Ramanujam as the DGP of Tamil Nadu and the subsequent extension of two years granted to him was dismissed by the Madras High Court on Monday.
An appointment could be challenged in a quo-warranto only if the incumbent lacked the eligibility or suitability for the post, a division bench comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and MM Sundresh observed.
In his petition, advocate M Suresh Kumar said the appointment could be done only by the State Security Commission, as stipulated by the apex court in Prakash Singh case. Secondly, as per All India Service Rules, the officer could not hold the post beyond 60 years.
Rejecting the first contention, the bench recalled events from the appointment of Letika Saran, who was appointed the DGP on November 27, 2010 for two years. At that time, no Security Commission was constituted in the State. But, the Election Commission replaced her with another senior IPS officer Bolenath. Yet another senior IPS officer R Natraj successfully challenged Saran’s selection before the TN unit of the Central Administrative Tribunal. Challenging this, a writ petition was filed in the High Court. By that time the election was over, results announced and a new government came to power. Saran opted to be shifted to some other post. When the writ was allowed in January this year, she did not opt for the post and retired.
The State government approached the UPSC on May 24, 2012 for preparing a panel of names. The UPSC said the tenure of Saran, who was appointed on Nov 27, 2010, would end only on November 27, 2012. The government filed a plea before the SC which permitted the UPSC to send three names and allwed TN to select one. The Empanelment Committee of the UPSC on October 30 and finalised the names of Vijayakumar, Bolenath and Ramanujam. Since Vijayakumar had retired on September 30, it sent two names and recommended Ramanujam. Therefore, the argument of non-compliance of the first condition could not be raised before this High Court, the bench said.
As regards the second contention, the bench pointed out that as per Supreme Court’s order in Prakash Singh case, the DGP would have a tenure of two years irrespective of his date of retirement. It meant that it was dehorse of Sec 16(1) of the All India Service Rules, it said.