The Hush Post: The Punjab cabinet on Monday okayed an amendment to the Punjab Police Act 2007 for setting up a state commission for the selection of DGP, in line with court guidelines.
The Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill 2018 will be tabled in the ongoing Vidhan Sabha session.
‘The Punjab Police Act 2007’, enacted on February 5, 2008, did not provide for selection of DGP from the panel as prepared by UPSC, and the state government, led by Captain Amarinder Singh, had recently sought the opinion of the Advocate General with respect to the matter of appointment of DGP.
Based on the recommendation of AG Atul Nanda, the Cabinet decided to amend Sections 6, 15, 27, 28 and 32 to bring the 2007 Act in line with the court judgement. The amendment would bring the procedure for DGP appointment in tandem with the recommendations of the SC in Prakash Singh & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., (2006) 8 SCC 1 (Prakash Singh’s case).
The state government had earlier this month decided to bring in the amendment to the Punjab Police Act 2007 to enable the constitution of a state police commission for appointment of DGP, while deciding to seek a review of the Supreme Court order of July 3, 2018, directing states to appoint their DGP from a panel to be constituted by the UPSC based on the concerned state government’s proposals.
The CM had accepted the opinion of Nanda that the directions amounted to infringement, by the Centre, of the state’s powers, since Law & Order was a state subject as per the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
In Prakash Singh’s case, the court had issued directions regarding police reforms in the states. This included a direction to appoint the DGP of the state “from amongst the three senior-most officers of the department who have been empanelled for promotion to that rank by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on the basis of their length of service, record and range of experience for heading the police force.”
In its July 3, 2018 orders, the SC has directed states that “when they anticipate vacancy in the post of DG, they shall send their proposals to the Union Public Service Commission well in time i.e, at least 3 months before the date of retirement of the incumbent to the post. The UPSC shall then prepare the panel as per the directions of in the judgment reported in (2006) 8 SCC 1, out which the State shall pick its DG.”
The apex court has further directed “that any legislation/rule framed by any of the States or the Central Government running counter to the direction shall remain in abeyance to the aforesaid extent.” It has, however, granted liberty to the states to approach the court for modification of the above direction in the event they are aggrieved by it.