The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to Jagpal Singh Sandhu, Principal Secretary, Department of Home Affairs and Justice, and Sumedh Saini, Punjab DGP, in a contempt petition which alleged “reckless transfers’’ of police officers in violation of an undertaking the government had given in court.
The bench consisting of Justice R K Jain, which heard the matter, adjourned the case to October 13. In his petition, advocate H C Arora said he had filed a PIL against reckless transfer of police officers. The then Home Secretary Samir Kumar had, in an affidavit, stated that that “Punjab Police Act, 2007 will be fully complied with in future”. The court had then disposed of the PIL on September 21, 2012, saying that it had become infructuous “with directions to the State of Punjab to strictly comply with the undertaking filed in the court”.
However, as the Punjab government kept ordering reckless transfers, the petitioner then filed a contempt petition. Proceedings in the contempt petition were dropped by the high court when “learned State Counsel assured the High Court that the judgment dated September 21, 2012, shall be implemented and adhered to in letter and spirit”.
In the latest contempt petition, the petitioner has stated that the Punjab government transferred as many as 91 DSPs on August 7 and 39 officers on August 19. He said that at least 37 police officers of DSP level had been transferred on two occasions or more in the last one year.
The petitioner said that under the Punjab Police Act, officers of the rank of DSP and above up to IG police level shall have a minimum assured tenure of one year. Only under certain contingencies like (1) promotion to a higher post; (2) against vacant post; or (3) suspension; (4) conviction; (5) due to inefficiency, negligence or non-performance, or (6) a prima facie case of some serious misconduct, can police officers be transferred before one year.s