SC refuses to interfere with J&K’s DGP appointment

P L Uniyal. Dated: 9/12/2018 12:00:58 PM

Notice issued to Centre for reply

NEW DELHI, Sep 11: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to interfere with the Jammu and Kashmir government appointing an acting Director General of Police (DGP).
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice and sought a reply from the Centre on a plea contending that the removal of SP Vaid as Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police breached the top court's directions on police reforms and amounted to “gross contempt.”
Seeking the response, the bench sought the assistance of Attorney General KK Venugopal in the matter. The court directed that a copy of the application be served on lawyer Binu Tamta, who is assisting the Attorney General and to senior counsel Raju Ramachandran who is amicus curiae in the case. Vaid was removed on the midnight of September 6.
The state government on September 6 appointed Dilbagh Singh as acting police chief, replacing Vaid who was posted as Transport Commissioner.
During the hearing, Attorney General K K Venugopal, who appeared for the Centre, said the prohibition to appoint an acting DGP was introduced to prevent misuse of the two-year fixed tenure for the head of police force in states and Union Territories in an earlier verdict of the apex court.
Counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for former DGP of Uttar Pradesh Prakash Singh, told the bench that removal of Vaid was in violation of the Supreme Court directions. He questioned the appointment of Vaid's successor Dilbagh Singh on the grounds that he had been charge-sheeted in a recruitment scam.
Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, said the appointment of an acting DGP was purely an interim measure to tide over the peculiar situation till a regular appointment was made in consultation with UPSC. “We cannot afford the police force to be without a chief,” he said, citing the law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He stated that the State had approached the UPSC with a panel of names to be named the regular DGP. The 2006 court directions on police reforms came on a petition by Prakash Singh.
Bhushan told the court that Vaid was removed although there were no charges against him and without consulting the State Security Commission. The court directed the matter to be listed for hearing next week.



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