The Gujarat High Court today sought a reply from the state government on a PIL seeking a direction for appointment of a full-time director general of police (DGP) in the state. A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi asked the government pleader to seek instruction on the petition challenging non-appointment of a regular DGP in Gujarat, which, it said, “is contrary to the provisions of the existing laws”. The next date of hearing of the case is October 10. The state, at present, has in-charge DGP and not a full time DGP.
According to the PIL, filed by former IPS officer and lawyer Rahul Sharma, Gujarat has not seen a permanent DGP since April 15, 2016, when P C Thakur was suddenly transferred and replaced by an in-charge DGP P P Pandey. A petition in the Supreme Court by former DGP Julio Ribeiro had led to the state government revoke the appointment of in-charge DGP Pandey, following which Geeta Johri was appointed.
“Regular appointment to the post of DGP is a matter of public interest. Appointment of a regular, full-time DGP is the first prescription of the rule of law,” the PIL said, adding that “an in-charge DGP makes him vulnerable to political machinations and pressure and thereby weakens the police administration and functioning”.
It said that the Bombay Police (Gujarat Amendment) Act, 2007, makes it mandatory for Gujarat to appoint a regular full-time police chief with a minimum tenure of two years. “Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act is impermissible, especially when officers, of required seniority, to officiate at this post are available,” it said.