STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of the State High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M.K Hanjura on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by S.K Mishra challenging appointment of S.P Vaid as DGP J&K observing that petition sans merit.
The DB observed that DGP of the State shall have to be selected by the State Government from amongst the three senior most officers of the Department who have been empanelled for promotion to that rank by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on the basis of their length of service, service record and experience for heading the police force.
The DB further observed that the petitioner and the S.P Vaid admittedly, are governed by the Indian Police Service (Pay) Rules, 2016. On the analogy of note 2 added to Sub-rule 2 of Rule 3 of the Indian Police Service (Pay) rules, 2016, the Director General of Police, Head of Police Force (HoPF) in the apex scale (Level 17) has to be appointed from amongst the officers holding the post of Director General of Police in the State cadre (Level 16 of the Pay Matrix).
As per Sub-rule (1)(c) to Rule 3 read with Schedule 2 of the Indian Police Service (Pay) Rules, 2016, only an officer having the scale of ‘HAG+’ and occupying the post of, or equivalent to that of the Director General of Police (Prisons), would fall within the Level 16 of the Pay matrix.
The DB observed the assessment of the merit and other relevant facts for making selection of Director General of Police was purely within the domain and jurisdiction of the State Government and, since the petitioner was also considered in the panel of eligible officers by the cabinet, so the petitioner cannot challenge the validity of the order by which SP Vaid has been selected and appointed as the Director General of Police (HoPF), J&K State. The petitioner is still working as Director General of Police and no prejudice can be said to have been caused to the petitioner by the appointment of the SP Vaid as the Director General of Police (HoPF).
“Merely stating that the petitioner figures a step ahead of the SP Vaid in the order of seniority cannot be a ground to challenge the validity of the order of selection/ appointment of SP Vaid to the post of Director General of Police, for which a variety of circumstances have to be taken note of, particularly, in view of the conditions prevailing in the State of Jammu and Kashmir which, by now, are obvious and do not require any retelling. The priority of the Government, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, is to maintain peace and harmony amongst the different sections of the people and, at the same time, to deal with the menace of terrorism in an effective and efficient way”, the court observed adding that Cabinet, in its wisdom, found the SP Vaid to be a fit and suitable person to man the post of Director General of Police (HoPF), J&K State and, therefore, such a decision of the Cabinet cannot be called in question before a Court.
DB further observed that it is not the seniority that holds the roost in making selection/ appointment of the Director General of Police, but the merit that has to prevail and has a binding force.
The DB observed that the scope of judicial review in such a case has to be confined to find out whether the Government decision was against the statutory provisions or in violations of fundamental rights of the citizens of the State.
With regard to the third contention raised by the petitioner, i.e. parity with SP Vaid in the grant of emoluments, etc, the DB observed that it is to be understood that while accepting the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission, the Central Government approved the grant of apex scale of Rs. 80,000 (fixed) by upgradation of one post in the line of existing DGs as DGP (HoPF) in each state cadre.
This scale is allowed only to the incumbent actually holding the post. This direction came into effect from the date of the notification of IPS (Pay amendment rules, 2008) dated September 27, 2008, therefore, on the analogy of the rules cited above, it is only the person who mans the post of Director General of Police that the scale of pay attached to the post can be allowed/ granted in his/her favour.
In addition to above, as per notification dated October 18, 2011, no ex-cadre post of DGP (HoPF) in Apex Scale of Rs.80,000 (fixed) can be created. With these observations, Division Bench observed that the petition of the petitioner sans merit and dismissed the same.
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