Anomalous archaic law on police officers’ promotion challenged

July 2nd, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday decided to examine the legality of an anomalous archaic law that divests senior officials of states’ police services of their right to be promoted to the Indian Police Service (IPS) cadre after the age of 54. The anomaly entailed in the law of 1955 leaves senior police officers of states often reporting to their juniors after the age of 54.

Taking a serious note of the anomaly in the law, namely Rule 5(3) of the Indian Police Service (Appointment by Promotion) Regulation, 1955, a vacation bench of Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice G.S. Singhvi issued notices to the central government.

It issued notices to the home ministry, the personnel and public grievances ministry, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the Rajasthan government, asking them why this law should not be struck down.

The anomaly was brought to the notice of the court by two senior Rajasthan police officers - Bhilwara Additional Superintendent of Police Bhanwar Singh Nathawat and Chittorgarh’s Additional Superintendent of Police Satish Kumar Khurana.

The bench, however, granted no relief to the two officers and said the UPSC had already prepared the list of officers promoted to the IPS cadre in their state.

It appreciated the efforts of the two officers in bringing out the lacunae of the law and said the posterity and their junior officers would thank them for their efforts.

Pranesh Rana, counsel for the two officers, told the bench that in 1955, when the regulation was passed, the retirement age of police officers happened to be 55.

Accordingly, at that time it did not matter if a senior police officer was denied promotion a year before retirement.

But the law turned anomalous in 1962, when the central government and various state governments raised the retirement age of their officials to 58 without adjusting the 1955 law.

Owing to this, the senior officers of the Rajasthan Police Service had to do without any promotion during the last four years of their services and had to contend with entailing humiliation of reporting to their juniors during this time, explained Rana.

He pointed out this legal anomaly was further aggravated in 1998, when the retirement age of Class I, II and III officers within various states and the central government was raised to 60, again without adjusting the 1955 rule.

This has left the senior officers of the Rajasthan Police Service beyond the age of 54 without any chance of promotion for the last six years of their service, forcing them often to report to their juniors after their promotion and face the entailing humiliation.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS: “This 1955 regulation is an all-India regulation, applicable in Delhi also. It regulates the promotion of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Island Police Service (DANIPS) officers also.

“Among Delhi Police officers, one of the victims of this law is Deputy Commissioner of Police P.S. Bhushan, who heads the Delhi Police Training College,” he added.

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