THE announcement by Rajasthan Police on out-of-turn promotions and gallantry awards for the personnel involved in the encounter with alleged gangster Anandpal Singh could involve a breach of Supreme Court guidelines. At a post-encounter press briefing, DGP Manoj Bhatt announced out-of-turn promotions for constables Sohan Singh (who was seriously injured) and Dharmpal Singh, besides announcing suitable rewards for other police personnel. However, a set of 16 guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in September 2014 in the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) vs State of Maharashtra and others advises against such a move.
“No out-of-turn promotion or instant gallantry rewards shall be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence,” states the SC guidelines. The guidelines further direct the police to ensure “at all costs that such rewards are given/recommended only when the gallantry of the concerned officers is established beyond doubt”.
“Yes we are aware of the guidelines. We will not be sending the proposal for the awards and the promotion immediately. It will be done after some time,” ADG, Special Operations Group, Umesh Mishra said. Asked whether the immediate announcement of the rewards was an exercise breaching the guidelines, Mishra said the formal proposal was yet to be forwarded to the government.
“How does it matter (if the rewards were immediately announced) as long as the actual proposal has not been sent? All the other guidelines, including informing the State Human Rights Commission, ordering a magisterial probe etc have been complied with,” Mishra said. Anandpal, who had a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head, was killed in a police encounter on June 24. He was killed in Malasar village (Churu district) by a team of Rajasthan police led by the Special Operations Group under the supervision of IG Dinesh MN and ADG Umesh Mishra.
His brothers, Vicky and Gattu, carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh each, were arrested earlier from Sirsa in Haryana. The two brothers had told the police about Anandpal’s hideout in Churu.
According to the police, when cornered, the gangster opened fire on the policemen, who retaliated. In the exchange of fire, Anandpal was killed. The gangster was on the run since September 2015.