In a major change of guard in the Punjab Police, over 120 officers — including 18 top IPS officers and another 90 DSPs — have been transferred in the last two days.
Transfer of the DSPs comes within a day of transfer of 18 IPS and 7 PPS officers including one DGP and four ADGPs on Wednesday.
Sources said, the decision — taken for “administrative reasons” — is aimed at reducing politicisation of the police, atleast at DSP level.
“Unlike the system which was being unofficially followed till now where local SAD leaders, including halqa incharge, had a say in the posting of the local DSP, the posting have been done based on the efficiency and honesty of the officers,” said a senior officer who did not want to be quoted.
The move is also expected to pave way for the separation of the investigative and the law and order wing in the police, a system the Punjab Police is likely to shift to in the coming days.
The division of the two wings will be done at the level of the police stations where separate police personnel will be assigned either work of law and order or investigation. At present the same set of cops posted in a police station are doing both the tasks. In the new system, once implemented, the policemen who make arrests will not be involved in the investigation after the FIR is lodged.
Announcing the system, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the home minister, had told the Vidhan Sabha during the budget session that “the move will bring down problems associated with allegations of mismanagement and corruption.”
The large number of transfers have, however, met with criticism on the grounds that in many cases of transfers, specially of the DSPs the move violates an affidavit submitted by the Punjab Police in the Punjab and Haryana High Court that a police officer will be retained at the post for at least one year.
Advocate and RTI activist H C Arora said it was shocking that police officers in Punjab are being kicked around like footballs. “Today also, more than 90 officers of rank of DSPs, have been transferred with a single stroke of pen. This is in violation of judgment of Supreme Court in Parkash Singh’s case (2006) and the provisions of Punjab Police Act, 2007,” added Arora.
“Earlier, in a PIL filed by me, which was followed by a contempt petition, the state government filed affidavits in the High Court that this provision will not be violated in future. The government is obviously inviting yet another contempt petition,” he said.