In a move that has left the state police establishment fuming,Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil has vested his department with powers to promote police officers from the rank of sub-inspector,the first officer-level post. Last year,the home department wrested the power to transfer police officers.
Sources said DGP Sanjeev Dayal is upset with the order issued in the second week of April and has met with home department officials with his senior team. But the order stands.
Former police commissioner Julio Ribeiro described the order as excess interference by the home minister. He has called upon Chief Secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia to take up the matter with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Our question is simple. Who runs the force? The state home minister or the state director general of police? Ribeiro told The Indian Express. Former police chief K Subramaniam officially expressed indignation last year after the home department took away the power to transfer officers.
Senior officers are learnt to be trying to argue that the order goes against the Bombay Police Act and Supreme Court ruling on police reforms.
According to the rules,the departmental promotion committee chaired by the DGP is authorised to transfer and promote officers from PSI upwards based on seniority and merit. Unit heads propose promotions,which the DPC decides on. The home department has now recognised the rank of a police sub-inspector to be on par with a gazetted officer,government sources said. The home department order says decisions on promotions for fresh recruits must be taken in consultation with the Maharashtra Public Service Commission.
Home Minister Patil is also learnt to have attended a meeting of group commandants of the State Reserve Police Force and given operational instructions to the SRPF additional DG. Operational orders pertain mostly to deployment and contingent movements,and Patils action has been seen as being out of line.
Ribeiro alleged that the interference in the SRPF reeked of political control. All these go against principles of control and management. Ministers will now decide on postings,transfers
and promotions. This creates duplicate establishments and two seats of power, Ribeiro said,adding,SRPF is an armed force and a minister cannot and should not be allowed to make operational decisions.
Home department officials declined to comment on the matter. The DGP and Patil
could not be reached Former chief secretary C M Sukthankar said,It has gone totally beyond levels of tolerance. There is a feeling that we should meet saner elements and at least tell them what is happening, he said.
Former bureaucrats are now planning to meet CM. Former Mumbai Police commissioner M N Singh said,I understand that several serving officers are concerned over this and look at it as an erosion of police authority.
Such interference goes against the control and command principle. Uniformed forces need to be loyal to the command and that can happen only if the command has control over the force. This new system only creates political bosses and will politicise the force.
Singh explained the departmental promotion committee looks into rules related to tenure,capabilities and needs of personnel while deciding appointments. The number of men is huge and the process of transfers and promotions is tedious. How will the government manage this? I am afraid rules will be ignored, he said.