New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to interfere at this stage with the Jammu and Kashmir government appointing Dilbagh Singh as acting director general of police (DGP) replacing S.P. Vaid, who was posted as transport commissioner.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, sought the assistance of the attorney general K.K. Venugopal, to decide the application filed by the Jammu and Kashmir government seeking approval for such appointment.
J&K government cited “emergent circumstances” and filed an application seeking Supreme Court’s approval for the appointment of “acting DGP” in view of the top court’s earlier directions that there cannot be any acting DGP for any state.
Advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir, told the bench that the appointment of acting DGP was purely an interim measure to tide over the peculiar situation till a regular appointment was made in consultation with UPSC. He said the process had already been initiated and the interim DGP would continue till regular appointment is made.
Attorney general K.K. Venugopal, who appeared for the Centre, said the prohibition to appoint an acting DGP was introduced to prevent misuse of the two-year fixed tenure given in an earlier verdict of the apex court. He said the Centre would file its response to Jammu and Kashmir’s application.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan for the original petitioner Prakash Singh opposed such appointment and argued that it would amount to contempt of court. He urged the court not to allow such appointments in view of the categorical ruling that a person appointed must have a minimum tenure of two years. He said he would file his response to the state’s application.
According to the state, J&K cannot be without a head of the police organisation in view of the complex situation prevailing there. The state however, did not give the reason for the abrupt transfer of Mr. Vaid. In its application seeking modification of the apex court’s earlier directions of July 3, 2018 and a 2006 judgment, the state through its Chief Secretary pleaded that on September 6, “due to emergent circumstances, the DGPolice of the state of J&K, shri S.P. Vaid had to be transferred.
The application said “It may be pointed out that in view of the complex security concerns of the state, the peculiar ground situation prevailing therein, the upcoming panchayat and local body elections, insurgent and terror related activities, the unique law and order requirements etc, it is essential to have a head of the police force in the state of Jammu & Kashmir at all times.”
As such as a purely ad-interim measure, the state government has been constrained to appoint the DGP of the state of J&K, Shri Dilbagh Singh, IPS (batch of 1987) as the In-charge Director General of the state of Jammu & Kashmir ‘till regular arrangement is made. The In-charge DGP shall hold charge of the DGP in addition to his other duties, the state said in its application seeking modification of the top court’s earlier directions.