Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New Punjab DGP – No information with UPSC on Punjab Govt sending names of IPS officers since July, 2022 for selection process of new regular State DGP — RTI Reply

Gaurav Yadav has been holding additional charge of DGP (HoPF), Punjab since past 8 months

CHANDIGARH – A latest reply dated 27 Feb 2023 received from Ashok Prasad, Under Secretary (AIS) & Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Union Public Service Commission ( UPSC) mentions that no information is available with it pertaining to forwarding of names of  IPS officers by Government of Punjab to UPSC  since July, 2022 and delegation of additional charge of DGP ( Head of Police Force – HoPF), Punjab to Gaurav Yadav, IPS.

An advocate at Punjab & Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, filed a RTI with UPSC on 1 Feb, 2023 seeking  complete information pertaining to the forwarding of names of IPS officers to UPSC by the State Government of Punjab, if any, since July, 2022 to till date for empanelment by the UPSC for the post of DGP (HoPF) of Punjab in compliance with the directions of the Honble Supreme Court of India Prakash Singh Vs Union of India case since the previous DGP (HoPF) of Punjab to VK Bhawra, IPS (1987 batch) who was appointed as such on 8 Jan 2022 for a two years term was prematurely removed from the post in Sep, 2022 by the Punjab Govt.

Also information was sought pertaining to consultation done, if any, by the Punjab Govt with UPSC since July, 2022 to till date over delegation of additional charge of DGP (HoPF) of Punjab to Gaurav Yadav, IPS ( 1992 batch) who was however not in the Panel of three IPS officers prepared by the UPSC in Jan, 2022.

Pertinent that it has been now total full eight  months since Gaurav Yadav, a 1992 batch IPS of Punjab Cadre  and primarily posted as Special DGP (Director General of Police), Administration has been  holding the additional charge of State’s DGP (HoPF).

Hemant told  that above period of eight months also includes two months viz. July-Aug, 2022 when Yadav was delegated the additional charge of  DGP(HoPF) since then incumbent VK Bhawra proceeded on two months leave in early July, 2022.  Further when Bhawra resumed duty  in Sep, 2022 he in lieu of being re-posted on this earlier post i.e. DGP(HoPF)  was however posted as Chairman, Punjab Police Housing Corporation  (PPHC) in the rank of DGP. Consequently Gaurav Yadav was allowed to hold the additional charge of  DGP(HoPF), which he was  holding since July, 2022,  till further Orders. It was also mentioned in the  Order dated 2 Sep 2022 that it is being issued as per Orders of the Competent Authority.

Meanwhile  it is not clear which is the Competent Authority as mentioned in the above referred Order. Noteworthy that in early April- 2022, the Bhagwant Mann led AAP Government within weeks of assuming reins of power in mid-March, 2022   also appointed Gaurav Yadav ( who then however posted as ADGP, Modernization) as Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister (SPSCM) in addition to his then assignment. Within days, Yadav was  posted as ADGP, Administration.  Further, in the month of June, 2022, Yadav along with 3 other IPS of 1992 batch got promoted in the rank of DGP which resulted in change of his nomenclature to Special DGP, Administration. It is however not yet officially clear that Yadav was  allowed to  hold the additional charge of SPSCM when he was given additional charge of  DGP(HoPF) firstly in July, 2022  or else  when or if relieved of such  key position in Chief Ministers’ Office (CMO).

Be that as it may, Hemant further told that a three Judge Bench of Supreme Court  comprising then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Mr. Justice AM Khanwlikar and Dr. Justice YV Chandrachud (current CJI) in  its 3 July, 2018 Order in Re: Prakash Singh Vs Union of India which related to issue of Selection and Appointment of DGP(HoPF) of States passed a series of directions which also included that none of the States shall ever conceive of the idea of appointing any person on the post of Director General of Police ( read DGP- HoPF)  on acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police as per the decision in Prakash Singh’s case (Main Judgment dated 22 Sep, 2006).

Of course, the official nomenclature of Gaurav Yadav as on date in not Acting or Officiating  DGP (HoPF) but nevertheless, if an IPS officer has been given additional charge of State’s DGP (HoPF), he for all intent and purposes literally means Acting or Officiating DGP (HoPF) of the State, asserts Hemant.

It may be recalled that Bhawra was appointed as regular DGP (HoPF) Punjab for a period of two years as such in the forenoon of 8 Jan, 2022 itself i.e.  just hours before the announcement of 16th Punjab Assembly General Election 2022 Schedule. Bhawra’s  appointment was made by then Charanjit Channi led Cong dispensation after following due process after complying with Supreme Court’s mandated order/guidelines of 3 July, 2018 i.e. firstly the  State Government sending names of eligible IPS officers to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)  after which  latter’s  screening/shortlisting and returning to the former a panel of three IPS officers from amongst whom  the State Government can appoint DGP (HoPF). In Jan, 2022, the UPSC sent a panel to the Punjab Government, apart from Bhawra, names of two other IPS viz. Dinkar Gupta (1987 batch)  and Prabodh Kumar (1988 batch) figured therein.

Hemant further told that before Bhawra, it was Dinkar Gupta (1987 batch) who was appointed as DGP (HoPF) during the then Captain Amarinder Singh  led Cong Government in Feb,2019  in a similar manner i.e. by following Apex Court’s guidelines involving UPSC. At that time,  apart from Gupta, names of two other IPS viz. MK Tiwari(1987 batch)  and VK Bhawra (1988 batch) figured therein. Dinkar’s appointment was although set aside by CAT, Chandigarh Bench in Jan, 2020 but later upheld both by High Court and Supreme Court. Dinkar’s superannuation from IPS is till March, 2024 and he may  have continued as  DGP (HoPF) of Punjab at least till March, 2022 i.e. till completion of tenure of then Captain Amarinder dispensation but since there was change of guard in the State in Sep, 2021 and Charanjit Channi succeeded Captain Amarinder, hence Dinkar too got sacked as DGP although officially he proceeded on leave followed by going on Central Deputation in due course. Currently, Dinkar Gupta is posted as DG, National Investigation Agency (NIA) under Union Home Ministry.

Meanwhile, after Dinkar’s leave, firstly Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, 1988 batch IPS, then Special DGP, Armed Bn, Jalandhar was given additional charge of DGP (HoPF), Punjab i.e. in other words appointed as Acting/Officiating DGP (HoPF) but before his appointment as such could be got regularized by due process i.e. by involvement of  UPSC only months later in mid-Dec, 2021 Sahota got replaced by 1986 batch IPS Siddharth  Chattopadhyaya , who was then DGP, PSPCL was however made Acting DGP (HoPF), Punjab. However, he too could not become regular DGP since he had less than six months of service left which made him ineligible for inclusion in UPSC prepared panel for DGP. Hence, within  three weeks, Chattopadhyaya was further replaced by Bhawra,  who rather got appointed as regular DGP (HoPF) for two years term i.e. till Jan, 2024 but unfortunately that lasted only six months courtesy Bhagwant Mann led AAP dispensation assuming reins of power in March, 2022.

It is noteworthy to mention here that  although Bhawra was not removed/sacked as DGP (HoPF) in Sep, 2022 strictly  as per Supreme Court Judgement in Prakash Singh Case (Sep, 2006) which lays down that the DGP may, however, be relieved of his responsibilities by the State Government acting in consultation with the State Security Commission consequent upon any action
taken against him under the All India Services ( Discipline & Appeal) Rules or following his conviction in a court of law in a criminal offence or in

a case of corruption, or if he is otherwise incapacitated

from discharging his duties. As a matter of fact, no State Security Commission has been duly constituted in  State of Punjab till date notwithstanding provision for the same in Section 27 of Punjab Police Act, 2007.

Be that as it may, Hemant had filed RTI to know if ever since Gaurav Yadav, 1992 batch IPS, who has been holding the additional charge of  DGP (HoPF) since last year, if Punjab Government has sent a list of fresh IPS officers who have completed 30 years of unblemished service or in other words who have been promoted in DGP rank to the UPSC for preparing a fresh three member panel from whom amongst whom the State Government can appoint next regular DGP (HoPF).

Pertinent that since there are a total of 8 IPS officers senior to Gaurav including four viz.  Samant Kumar Goel (1984 batch who however is on extension in Service till June, 2023), Dinkar Gupta (1987 batch), Parag Jain (1989 batch) and Harpreet Singh Sidhu (1992 batch) who all although on Central Deputation whereas four others VK Bhawra- 1987 batch (although name reportedly cleared for Central Deputation), Prabodh Kumar (1988 batch), Sanjeev Kalra (1989 batch) and  Sharad Satya Chauhan (1992 batch)   are very much posted in  the State as on date and all of them except Goel have more than six months of service left. One more Kuldeep Singh of 1992 batch is Yadav’s batchmate  within 1992 batch. Further names of this year promoted 7 DGPs of 1993 batch also qualify to be included in the list the names of probables of DGP (HoPF) which is to be sent to UPSC by the State Government. Hence it would be interesting to watch if  Gaurav Yadav’s name would eventually figure in the 3 member IPS officers panel prepared by UPSC for sending to Punjab Government from which appointment of next regular DGP (HoPF) can be made by Bhagwant Mann led AAP Government, asserts Hemant Kumar.

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