In the face of mounting pressure from the police establishment upset at excessive political interference in its affairs,Home Minister R R Patil on Friday said he would go to the cabinet for a permanent solution that would restore the power to transfer police officers to the Director General of Police.
I am myself not very happy with the present scenario. We need to find a long term and permanent solution for this,which could be an amendment in the transfer law. I will hold discussions with the cabinet to see if we can amend the transfer law, Patil told The Indian Express.
Two days ago,former chief secretary D M Sukthankar and former police commissioners Julio Ribeiro and Satish Sawhney had met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan seeking his intervention to stop the excess political interference in police transfers and promotions.
Patil said a change in the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers & Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Duties Act,2005,could be the answer. The change in the law could give back to the DGP powers to transfer Police Officers and Assistant Police Inspectors. The state government had last year vested the power in the chief minister and the home minister. Last month,a state government circular took away the power of promoting Sub Inspectors from the DGP and gave it to the home ministry.
Senior police officials have been miffed over what they see as continuous erosion of their power and authority. The chief minister gave a patient hearing to the former IAS and IPS officers and said he would look into their suggestions. Sawhney has been asked to submit a set of recommendations to ensure independence of police and the command and control concept in the force.
In his defence,Patil said the problem had started with the elevation of Police Inspectors and APIs to the rank of gazetted officers. As per rules,the power to transfer gazetted officers lies with the General Administration Department and the state government.
We included them as gazetted officers but we never made the requisite changes in the state transfer law to ensure that the power of their transfers would be retained by the DGP, he said.
According to him,the authority of deciding the transfer was delegated to the DGP four years ago. He said that he took back the power after it was brought to his notice that a lot of transfers were being challenged. Many transfers that the DGP had ordered were stayed by the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal. That is why I decided to take back the power which as per rules lies with the home ministry, Patil said.
But the uproar in the police department seems to have prompted a rethink. The proposed amendment would exempt gazetted police officers from the purview of the states transfer law.