January 10, 2019:
On Wednesday, the Bombay High Court asked the Centre to decide within 4 weeks on Maharashtra Govt’s proposal to give DGP Dattatray Padsalgikar, who was to retire on Aug 2018, a further extension till June 2020.
Disposing of a PIL filed by an advocate challenging the extensions, the Court emphasized on the need for a “stable tenure” for the DGP’s post.
Padsalgikar, a 1982 batch IPS officer, was appointed DGP in June 2018, thus getting barely three months in his new post till superannuation.
He was given a three month extension till Nov 2018 by the approvals committee of the cabinet (ACC) at the Centre, followed by another three months till Feb 2019.
HC’s division bench comprising of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Nitin Jamdar, which heard the PIL, questioned the purpose of the short-term extensions and pointed to Supreme Court judgments reiterating stable tenures.
The bench asked, “The DGP is not sure whether he will be there next month. So, how will he make plans for the state?”
SC had said in July 2018 that states should make an endeavor “to see that the person who was selected and appointed as DGP continues despite his date of superannuation. But the extended term beyond the date of superannuation should be a reasonable period”.
Maharashtra advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told HC the state had decided to seek extension for Padsalgikar “in public interest”.
In an affidavit to HC, the state said it had sent a proposal to the ACC seeking a two-year tenure.
The Govt. justified the decision citing the State Police Act as well as SC directives on the need for a long tenure for a DGP, irrespective of date of superannuation.
The state said there were no other serving officers in the 1982, 1983 and 1984 IPS batches and the next senior officer in line was Subodh Jaiswal, appointed Mumbai’s police commissioner in July 2018.
The state said it wants both Padsalgikar and Jaiswal to have full two-year tenures at their posts for “effective policing and to create a positive perception about law enforcement in the state”.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh and advocate Mohamedali Chunawala, counsel for the Union, said the extension granted to Padsalgikar was as per rules and sought the dismissal of the PIL.
Advocate R R Tripathi, the petitioner in person, had claimed Padsalgikar’s extension was not in conformity with service rules and SC directives.
The advocate said that contrary to SC orders, the state had not sent a proposal to UPSC to shortlist the senior most officers in the zone of consideration for the post of DGP.