The differences between acting Maharashtra acting DGP Sanjay Pandey and Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale have come to the fore during Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) hearings concerning the 187 Mumbai Police officers who were transferred by the DGP last December.
During one of the hearings in the case — V J Jadhav vs state — on January 20, the MAT had observed, “…there appears to be disharmony between the DGP and the commissioner, for which this is not the forum.”
Further, in its latest hearing on January 24, MAT told Pandey to file an affidavit by January 31, explaining what “compelled him” to transfer the 187 Mumbai Police personnel on the basis of request, without giving substitutes and why Nagrale was not consulted.
In Maharashtra, the Mumbai Police commissioner reports directly to the state government while the rest of the state reports to the DGP.
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Some of the 187 officers who were transferred by the DGP but not relieved by Nagrale had approached the MAT. The MAT’s observation came in response to pleas filed by these officers.
The officers had said that they were not relieved by the Mumbai Police Commissionerate though the DGP had transferred them on December 17, 2021.
The order stated that record shows 269 policemen were transferred on request.
Taking objection to the ad hoc transfers of police officers in Mumbai city limits by Pandey, without giving substitutes, Nagrale had complained to the state home department on December 30, 2021.
The Mumbai Police took a stand that the policemen were wanted for law and order duties and there was a shortage of personnel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those who were transferred and not relieved were also told that they will be relieved after their substitutes were provided or during the general transfers to be held in April.
When the minutes of the meeting of the Police Establishment Board (PEB), which decided on these transfers, were submitted to MAT, it was found that Nagrale and the additional chief secretary (Home) had not signed on the order. The Mumbai Police maintained that the transfers were made without considering administrative difficulties and the decision of the PEB was arbitrary.
The MAT observed, “The grievances raised by the commissioner of police cannot be said unfounded in the view of the manner whereby 187 police personnel were transferred without taking care of substitutes. The DGP was required to consider the issue of replacement before accepting request of 187 personnel of Mumbai police. There seems to be no coordination between authorities.”
The order added that the grievances raised by Nagrale deserved to be considered.
Earlier, during the hearing on January 20, MAT had observed, “Indeed, when competent authority – DGP, who is above the Mumbai Police commissioner – has passed an order invoking Section 22 (N)(2) of the Maharashtra Police Act, the commissioner of police was to implement the same. However, there appears to be a disharmony between DGP and CP, for which this is not the forum.”
It further said, “Once the DGP has passed the transfer order… it has to be implemented… In view of above, learned PO (presenting officer) is directed to apprise the Tribunal why the CP has not relieved applicants, which is indeed disobedience of the order passed by DGP.” The matter has been posted for a hearing on January 24.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Manukumar Shrivastava and DGP Pandey both refused to comment on the issue. When contacted, Nagrale also said, “No comments. It is an official matter under judicial scrutiny.’’
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