Top Maharashtra police officer’s appointment struck down (Lead)

October 8th, 2008 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Oct 8 (IANS) The central administrative tribunal (CAT) Wednesday quashed the appointment of Maharashtra Director-General of Police (DGP) A.N. Roy following a complaint that he had superseded three officers. The decision may come as a major embarrassment for the state government, which had appointed him eight months ago.

Roy’s appointment had been challenged last month by his colleague S. Chakraborthy, the DGP-Home Guards & Civil Defence, the latter’s advocate R.R. Shetty told IANS.

Delivering the verdict Wednesday, CAT members Jog Singh and Sudhakar Mishra also directed the state government to appoint a new DGP within four weeks until which time Roy can continue in office.

Roy’s appointment to the top post in the state police force Feb 29 this year had kicked up a controversy.

Chakraborthy had contended that Roy was fourth in seniority and his appointment as DGP unduly superseded S.S. Virk, Chakraborthy himself, and J.D. Virkar.

The three had been promoted to DGP level at least one year before Roy and they were at least two years senior to him in service.

In its reply to CAT, the state government had earlier stated that as Roy was the most meritorious office in the state he was appointed to the post.

But CAT directed that the new appointment must be made from among the three other DGPs and Roy should not be considered for the top post, Shetty said.

In his complaint, Chakraborthy had urged CAT to set aside Roy’s appointment since it contravened the rules set out by the Supreme Court in 2006 in the Prakash Singh case, which held that the state DGP must be selected from the three seniormost officers.

When Roy was appointed as the state police chief, Virk, Chakraborthy and Virkar were the seniormost serving Indian Police Service officers in Maharashtra.

Chakraborthy pointed out that Maharashtra usually appointed its seniormost officer as state DGP even if he was due for retirement in a few months.

The other three top posts - DGP Anti-Corruption Bureau, DGP Police Housing and DGP Home Guards & Civil Defence - are held by those next in the seniority list.

Challenging the state’s contention that Roy was “the most meritorious officer”, Chakraborthy said the other three DGPs had already undergone three annual assessments and performance appraisals by which their calibre as DGPs could be judged.

On the other hand, Roy had no annual assessment or performance appraisal as he was appointed state DGP within a few months of being promoted to the rank of DGP.

Chakraborthy pointed out that Virk was not only the seniormost officer in the state police but also the most decorated. He was conferred the Padma Shri civilian honour and was sent on deputation to Punjab during more troubled times.

“Virk has served the country to his own personal peril. Chakraborthy also has an impeccable record and has successfully served three years as DGP-Police Housing and DGP-Home Guards & Civil Defence,” Shetty explained.

Challenging Chakraborthy’s contentions, the state had countered that at the time of his appointment that Roy was among the three seniormost DGPs in the state as Virk had been placed under suspension from service at that time.

However, Shetty said this was contrary to the state government’s stand in the Supreme Court a year ago, during the hearing of a petition filed by Virk.

In his petition before the apex court in 2007, the state had declared that Virk’s services were not suspended, though the state had to keep him in ‘compulsory waiting’ as all four posts of DGP in the state had been duly filled up.

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