A two-member bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had quashed the appointment of Dinkar Gupta as Punjab director general of police (DGP), saying the “selection process” had been “defeated with impunity”.The CAT bench, headed by chairman Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, held that the entire process followed in Gupta’s appointment went against provisions outlined by the Supreme Court.“The selection process, which was galvanised, has been virtually ignored and defeated with impunity.

HIGH Court Stay in Chandigarh CAT Matter
HIGH Court Stay in Chandigarh CAT Matter

 A device procedure was evolved to choose the selection criteria in such a way that the desired candidates are selected. This exactly was the malady, which the Hon’ble Supreme Court wanted to eradicate,” the tribunal observed. Gupta, a 1987-batch officer, was appointed DGP by the state government in February last year after his name was shortlisted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He superseded five senior officers. Two of them, Mohammad Mustafa of the 1985 batch, and Siddharth Chattopadhyaya of the 1986 batch, subsequently moved the CAT to challenge Gupta’s appointment.

The CAT handles disputes and complaints regarding recruitment and service conditions of government employees. Punjab has multiple DGPs and Gupta has been appointed as head of the police force. While Mustafa is currently posted in Punjab as DGP, human rights, Chattopadhyaya is the DGP for the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd.

On 21st of January the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the order the passed by the tribunal and held that until further order Gupta shall continue his duties as Police Chief. A division bench comprising of Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Sant Prakash has asked Punjab to file affidavit about the material forwarded by it to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the selection OF DGP. UPSC has also been told to provide details regarding restrictions regarding number if officers considered for DGP’s post.

Bench has passed these orders while hearing the arguments of DGP Mohammad Mustafa who had challenged Dinkar Gupta’s appointment, Punjab government and the counsel for Dinkar Gupta. The case would now come up for hearing on February 26. Further submitting that there was no infirmity with the selection of Dinkar Gupta, Punjab has claimed that the empanelment committeetook into consideration the annual confidential reports/annual performance appraisal reports of the eligible officers for last 10 years while assessing the suitability of the officers in accordance with UPSC guidelines for the empanelment of the DGP’s.

Citing some serious concerns, the Punjab Government has also requested the High Court to stay the operation of the order. The State argued that as Punjab was a neighboring state and there was no DGP in the state and 26 January was upcoming, there can be a danger in the rule and order of the state.

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This post is written by Abhay Tripathi. For more info, dial 99888-17966