Appointment of DGP’s

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    Context

    • The Nagaland government appointed the State Director General of Police (DGP) following the directions of the Supreme Court.

    About

    • The Supreme  Court (SC) had directed the Nagaland government to appoint a 1992-batch IPS officer as the state DGP after the Nagaland government challenged the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) recommendation of the officer as the only candidate for the post.

    What is the Appointment Process?

    For the appointment of State DGP, the SC judgement on police reforms in Prakash Singh vs Union of India is followed. According to the guidelines:

    • States are supposed to draw up and send to the UPSC a list of eligible officers with at least 30 years of service behind them, along with these officers’ service records, performance appraisals, and vigilance clearance.
    • These officers are to be of the rank of ADG or the rank of police chief (and one below) stipulated for that state. The list is supposed to be given to UPSC six months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
    • An empanelment committee headed by the UPSC chairman, and with the union home secretary, state chief secretary, state DGP, and the chief of a central police organisation in it, is supposed to select a panel of three officers “based on merit”.
    • For smaller states that may have only one cadre post of DGP, the committee is supposed to send two names.
    • Under the rules, the consent of an officer is not required for his/her posting. Also, the Centre has the power to not relieve an officer for posting in the state.
    • Through orders passed in 2018 and 2019, the SC has stipulated that the UPSC shall not put on the panel any officer with less than six months to retirement.

    Prakash Singh Judgement

    • Select the DGP of the state from amongst three senior-most officers of the department empanelled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC and once selected, provide him a minimum tenure of at least two years irrespective of his date of superannuation.
    • UPSC must prepare the panel based on seniority, service record, and range of experience. The SC has also repeatedly emphasised “merit” as the basis of appointment.

    Issues with Appointments

    • Interim Status: The appointed DGP officer spent their entire tenure in interim status which is against the supreme court order where the SC has said there must be no temporary or ad hoc appointments of police chiefs.
    • Seniority vs Merit issue: The senior officers challenge the appointment of Junior officers as DGP on grounds of seniority. The UPSC defended its decision in court on the grounds of merit over seniority.
    • Extension of Tenure: Sometimes the officers are given an extension of tenure beyond the stipulated term of 2 years.
    • State-Centre friction: The center has the power to not release the officer for posting in the state which the state recommends in the list, leading to frici

    Way Ahead

    • The States and UPSC should follow the Prakash Singh Judgement and the orders passed in 2018 and 2019 for the appointment process where SC clarified:
      • None of the states shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of DGP on an acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police.
      • The UPSC shall not put on the panel any officer with less than six months to retirement.

                                              High Time for Police Reforms

    • The Indian police system in 2022, still works under the framework of the archaic Police Act, 1861.
    • The expectations of the public from the police forces have changed in entirety and what is required today is largely reformative policing and not retributive.
    • The nature of the crimes has changed entirely with the coming of technology and other factors like white-collar and sophisticated crimes.
    • Therefore, it’s high time to revamp the policing system in India and make it relevant to today’s crime and requisite investigation.

    Source: IE