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SC directs UPSC, Nagaland, Centre to complete process of appointment of State DGP by Dec 19

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A bench comprising chief justice D Y Chandrachud and justice P S Narasimha refused to grant 60 days, as sought by the UPSC, for completing the appointment process

 

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New Delhi, Dec 9 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Nagaland Government, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the UPSC to finalise the process of appointment of the State’s director general of Police on or before December 19, saying it will otherwise be “constrained to take recourse to the coercive arm of law” to ensure compliance.

Taking a serious view of the non-conclusion of the process of appointing the State police chief, a bench comprising chief justice D Y Chandrachud and justice P S Narasimha refused to grant 60 days, as sought by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), for completing it.

“The UPSC is duty bound to enforce the order of this court. We therefore decline to grant a period of 60 days and direct that a final decision be taken on or before December 19, 2022. All necessary formalities which have to be completed shall be sorted out between the UPSC, MHA and Nagaland within the aforesaid period.

“We are constrained to put authorities on notice that should this order not be complied with, the court would be constrained to take recourse to the coercive arm of law to ensure compliance of the judgment in the Prakash Singh case…,” the bench said in the order.

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In July, 2018, the top court had passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country and restrained all States and UTs from appointing any police officer as acting DGPs to avoid favouritism and nepotism in such high-level appointments.

As per the process, the UPSC, in consultation with State Government and other stakeholders, has to prepare a list of three senior police officers and the State can appoint any one of them as the DGP.

In Nagaland, 1991 batch IPS officer T J Longkumer, who is originally from Chhattisgarh cadre, is continuing as the DGP.

Longkumer was appointed as the DGP on June 27, 2018. He was given a one-year extension last year till August 31, 2022.  This year he was again given an extension of six months till February next year.

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The top court has been hearing a plea seeking enforcement of the apex court’s earlier directions on appointment of the DGP as the present State police chief allegedly does not fulfil the criteria laid down by the apex court in Prakash Singh’s case.

The instant plea was filed by Nagaland Law Students Federation seeking a direction to recall the order granting six months extension to the present DGP after his superannuation.

At the outset, the UPSC sought additional time of 60 days for convening the empanelment committee meeting for preparing a panel of three senior police officers for appointment to the post of DGP on the ground that the consultation with the MHA was under process.

Irked over the delay, the bench said the UPSC was duty bound to enforce its order.

The bench refused to accept the UPSC’s contention that there was a DGP in place till February 28 next year and hence, there will be no disruption in the administration.

“In view of observations of this court, we are of the considerate view that the UPSC has no justification to point out to this court that extended tenure of the incumbent will be over on February 28, 2023 and hence there would be no administrative dislocation in the State of Nagaland,” the bench observed.

The counsel for the State, initially, sought relaxation in the earlier directions of the apex court, saying in a State like Nagaland it was quite difficult to find three senior police officers having 30 years of experience for being considered for the post of the DGP.

He said there was only one officer who meets the criteria and hence it will not be possible to provide names of three officers who could be considered for the post.

The bench asked the State Government as to why the senior most police officer cannot be considered for the appointment.

“You have Rupin Sharma who is a 1992 batch (IPS) officer, who has completed 30 years…I am sorry, but you are trying to evade compliance of the order,” the bench said.

The counsel for Nagaland said, as per the apex court’s judgement, the State also has a discretion to recommend a panel of three officers.

Cautioning the counsel for the UPSC over the delay, the bench orally observed, “We will give one week to UPSC now. Otherwise we will ask the (UPSC) chairperson to appear before us.”

Earlier on October 17, the apex court had reprimanded the Nagaland Government for extending the tenure of the DGP after his superannuation and asked the State to put its house in order by recommending a fresh panel of names of eligible IPS officers from the State cadre to the UPSC for the appointment of a new police chief.

It had taken a serious view of the fact that incumbent police chief Longkumer was part of the meeting of the State Police Establishment Board headed by the chief secretary which had recommended his extension for a period of six months.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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