State Security Commission in place of State Police Board
Commission will choose the Next DGP
After the Governor gave green signal and passed the The Punjab Police (Second Amendment) Act, 2018, the pace to have new DGP is clear. In this pace, Now, State Police Board is placed with State Security Commission. This Commission would choose DGP from the three chosen seniors officers. This commission would be Chaired by Chief Minister.
The Punjab government has been awaiting Governor’s assent to the Punjab Police (Second Amendment) Act, 2018, which was passed by the Vidhan Sabha in the monsoon session in order to set the ball rolling for appointing a new Director General of Police to replace incumbent Suresh Arora, who retires on September 30.
The new legislation seen as a means to sidestep the recent Supreme Court orders asking all states to send a panel of five eligible police officers for the post of DGP to UPSC.
An official said the Amendment is line with the SC directions in the Prakash Singh police reforms case in which Punjab was asked to rectify anamolies in its act. “Now, those anamolies have been removed. One of the corrections is that the DGP will be chosen from a panel of three,” the official said.
Under the Amendment, the a panel of three IPS officers of Punjab cadre, based on their record of service and range of experience, will be considered by a screening committee. Guidelines have been set for choosing the members of the screening committee.
“We are just waiting for the Act to be notified. We are in the process of preparing the file to be sent to the Governor for his assent. As soon as we get it, we will notify the Act that provides for the State Security Commission that could select the DGP from a panel of three. After the notification, the state will be fully equipped to appoint its DGP. The screening committee would be set up for the panel,” said the official.
Sources in the government said a 1984-batch IPS officer Samant Kumar Goel, who is on a deputation to R&AW, has already met the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Delhi. He is the seniormost officer in the pecking order after Arora. Goel is seen as a “non-controversial” officer. But with the Director of R&AW also retiring on September 30, Goel is expected to look to the parent cadre state only if he did not get promoted to head the intelligence agency.
“If he is appointed the DGP here, nobody would raise a finger. Also, he would retire in May 2020, which would provide him a 20-month tenure as DGP in the state,” said a government functionary. Other IPS officers in the line of succession are Mohammed Mustafa and Hardeep Singh Dhillon of 1985 batch, Jasminder Singh and Sidharth Chattopadhyaya of the 1986 batch, and Dinkar Gupta, a 1987-batch officer.
As both Dhillon and Jasminder Singh retire within the next year, the functionary said, they would not be eligible as the Amendment Act makes it clear that to be considered for the post of DGP, an officer should have at least 12 months service left.
Chattopadhyaya is perceived to be out of the running after the controversy he triggered by naming two DGP-level officers as obstructing his investigation into another police official’s alleged role in a drugs case.
Though Mustafa is also not seen as a strong contender as his wife Razia Sultana is a minister in Amarinder’s cabinet, he is still not entirely ruled out.
Dinkar Gupta, who is juniormost in the list of eligible, is considered a close aide of Suresh Arora and also close to the Chief Minister.
The issue of the appointment of DGP in Punjab has taken on a distinct political hue in the last few months, with ruling party members accusing the police of “not listening” to them at the district level and still “pandering” to the Akalis.
A top source said even AICC president Rahul Gandhi had spoken to Amarinder about these complaints and indicated that there should be no appointments of officials with “Akali leanings”. Arora was appointed DGP by the Badal government in 2015.