Updated: January 29, 2022 12:51:55 am
The Bombay High Court Friday recalled its January 25 order of reserving for judgment in a PIL by an advocate seeking direction to the Maharashtra government to appoint permanent Director General of Police (DGP) as per recommendations made by the empanelment committee of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The court said that while it had reserved the matter for a verdict, while writing the order, it found that there were “direct allegations” levelled against acting DGP Sanjay Pandey in the PIL, therefore, it was inclined to make Pandey as a respondent in the case.
The PIL filed by advocate Datta Shrirang Mane had also sought the government to place records in connection with the “inordinate delay” in not following the Supreme Court directions, which had said that appointments of a permanent DGP should be made from a list of three officers recommended by the UPSC.
The plea had also sought direction to the state to identify all responsible for not following Supreme Court directions “surreptitiously” and act to proceed against such persons identified holding them personally responsible for the same.
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A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Makarand S Karnik on Tuesday (January 25) concluded the hearing and reserved its verdict in the PIL.
On Tuesday, Senior advocate Navroz Seervai, representing acting DGP Pandey submitted that his client is the senior-most officer with integrity and a good track record score, therefore he should be made party to the PIL as he would be “most affected” in case of an adverse order.
The High Court had said that it cannot do so by enlarging the scope of the PIL to examine if UPSC has excluded his right. It had noted that Pandey or the state has not challenged the UPSC decision in “any court of law” and how he has the right to “hold on to the post” and allowed Pandey’s lawyer to put forth his written submissions.
However, Friday, the bench said that after it perused written submissions of the parties and during the course of passing the order, it found certain allegations levelled against Pandey in the PIL and “in such a case, he should be given a hearing as a party respondent”.
The court referred to the portion in the PIL which had alleged that before the appointment of Subodh Kumar Jaiswal as then DGP in 2019, the Maharashtra government had sent a list of officers to the UPSC, which included names of two other officers along with Jaiswal, however, Pandey’s name had not appeared in the said list.
The PIL claimed the same “demonstrates that the officer who was not shortlisted in recommended panel of three suitable officers list of 2019 and recent list of November 1, 2021, how he was appointed as acting DGP, Maharashtra and how he can continue to be acting DGP perpetually contrary to SC judgment”.
The High Court found the allegations to be “direct and serious” and granted time to Pandey, Maharashtra government and UPSC to file affidavits in reply to the PIL by February and asked the petitioner to file a rejoinder by February 7. The court will hear the PIL next on February 9.
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