SC| UPSC can recommend Officers having atleast 6 months tenure left for post of Director General of Police

Supreme Court: Clarifying the order dated 03.07.2018, the bench of CJ Ranjan Gogoi and L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ said that the recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months i.e. officers who have at least six months of service prior to the retirement.

To do away with the practice of States appointing the Director General of Police on the last date of   the normal tenure of an incumbent so as to ensure that such incumbents get extended term of two years in view of the directions of this Court contained in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 1, the 3-judge bench of former CJI Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ. gave the following directions inter alia:

“(e) An endeavour has to be made by all concerned to see that the person who was selected and appointed as the Director General of Police continues despite his date of superannuation. However, the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period. We say so as it has been brought to our notice that some of the States have adopted a practice to appoint the Director General of Police on the last date of retirement as a consequence of which the person continues for two years after his date of superannuation. Such a practice will not be in conformity with the spirit of the direction.

(f) Our direction No.(c) should be considered by the Union Public Service Commission to mean that the persons are to be empanelled, as far as practicable, from amongst the people within the zone of consideration who have got clear two years of service. Merit and seniority should be given due weightage.”

Alleging that the aforementioned directions have resulted into confusion, the petitioner argued that:

“the Union Public Service Commission while empanelling officers for consideration for appointment   to the post of Director General of Police is considering the minimum residual tenure required to be taken into account as two years. In the process, according to the applicant, many suitable and eligible officers are being left out.”

On this Court clarified that it had not contemplated recommendation for appointment of officers who are on the verge of retirement or appointment of officers who have a minimum residual tenure of two years. The emphasis was to select the best and to ensure a minimum tenure of two years’ service of such officer who is to be selected and appointed. It, hence, issued the direction that:

“In the above conspectus the object in issuing the directions in Prakash Singh (supra), in our considered view, can best be achieved if the residual tenure of an officer i.e. remaining period of service till normal retirement, is fixed on a reasonable basis, which, in our considered view, should be a period of six months.”

The Court, however, said that the above direction, naturally, will hold the field until the validity of the Police Acts in force which provides to the contrary are examined and dealt with by the Court in the pending writ petition.

[Prakash Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 371, decided on 13.03.2019]

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