Bengal government moves SC on DGP appointment, says UPSC has no jurisdiction or expertise in the matter

Supreme Court of India File Photo | Manisha World | The imprint

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New Delhi: The Union Civil Service Commission (UPSC) has neither the competence nor the expertise to review and appoint the Director General of Police (DGP) of a state, as this is not in line with the system Indian federal governance, the government of West Bengal told the Supreme Court.

It comes a day after Mamata Banerjee’s government appointed a 1986 batch IPS officer as the state’s acting DGP, amid the state-UPSC fight for selection. of a new top policeman. According to the state, UPSC in a series of letters pointed out several discrepancies in the list of names proposed by the Government of Bengal for the post.

In a petition filed with the highest court, the state said central and state governments act in a well-defined, coordinated sphere, but at the same time independent of each other.

Under Article 320 of the Constitution, the UPSC has a limited role in providing consultations on the principles to be followed in the appointments to the service of the Union and the promotions and transfers of these candidates, submitted the government of the West Bengal in his candidacy.

Senior lawyer Siddhartha Luthra on Wednesday mentioned the request in a court headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and asked him to schedule the same for an early hearing. Luthra told the judiciary that the state does not have a regular DGP and that the highest court has banned the appointment of an acting police chief.

Through its request, the state implored the Supreme Court to finalize a petition filed by lead attorney Harish Salve in 2018 challenging the constitutional validity of laws passed by states to circumvent Supreme Court instructions in l 1996 Prakash Singh case on police reform. .

Delivered in September 2006, this judgment issued specific directives concerning the selection and minimum term of office of States’ DGPs. According to the decision, the state’s DGP will be chosen by the state, from among the three most senior officials in the department recruited to be promoted to that rank by the UPSC.

Salve, in his petition, claimed that state laws (to overcome Prakash Singh’s directives) have diluted the directives issued on the matter. As a result of this request, the tribunal amended its instructions in the Prakash Singh ruling, saying states would send in their proposals in anticipation of vacancies at UPSC at least three months before the recruitment date.

However, according to West Bengal, those instructions were to remain in effect until it decides on Salve’s petition. The state has now asked the SC to take up the case, which was last heard in early January 2019.

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“The police are part of the state list”

In the view of the Government of West Bengal, the Constitution does not give UPSC the power to assess the “merit of officers” holding the rank of DGP in the state framework. Depending on the request, it is the State which may have the immediate possibility of assessing the suitability of officers of this rank, who have rendered services to the State within the framework of the State.

Since the Constitution provides for the extension of the functions of the UPSC by a law passed by Parliament, it cannot be entrusted with the function of preparing the panel of officers for the appointment of the DGP until the Parliament promulgates a new law, as requested.

In addition, “public order” and “police” are part of the list of states in the Constitution, which gives West Bengal the exclusive power to legislate with respect to its police system and also has administrative control. total on state police.

Therefore, the state argued that UPSC’s direct involvement in a state’s DGP appointment process would amount to a reduction in the state’s legislative powers.

“… such a limitation on the legislative powers of states may not be permitted in the exercise of the power of judicial review of this Honorable Court or under Article 142 of the Constitution, as it would violate the doctrine of the separation of powers. Said the state’s request.

Section 142 gives the Supreme Court the power to issue orders and instructions.

The state’s “ultimate power” to exercise DGP oversight and selection cannot be withdrawn, the West Bengal government said in the request, as it disclosed details of an independent selection process followed. for the promotion of officers.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

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