The Madras High Court has quashed a state government order to grant accelerated promotion to personnel involved in operations to nab Veerappan, who was killed in an encounter in 2004.
The AIADMK government had in 2004 granted promotion to 752 Special Task Force personnel who were part of the operations. The decision was conceived as a one-time measure but beneficiaries were granted accelerated seniority for later promotions, too.
The matter reached the court after the DMK government in 2007 passed a Government Order cancelling the accelerated seniority, citing that promotions of regular police personnel were affected due to the accelerated seniority of STF even though not being a part of the operations against Veerappan was not their fault. An STF personnel moved a petition in the high court against the 2007 government order.
As the case filed by the STF personnel was pending, the next AIADMK government led by the late J Jayalalithaa cancelled the 2007 government order in 2012 and restored the accelerated seniority. Irked at the government’s move at a time when the case is pending, a division bench of the high court set aside the 2012 government order. The Jayalalithaa-led government passed another order in 2013, amending special rules for Tamil Nadu police and paving the way for accelerated seniority to STF personnel.
The court on Saturday held the order “unconstitutional” and quashed it.
Justice V Parthiban added that “either the government was blissfully ignorant as how to exercise its power referable to the Constitution in overruling the judgment of the constitutional court, or it was a cocky demonstration of officious imprudence”.
“In the opinion of this court, such cavalier approach by the government to the important issue would tantamount to caricaturing power vested in the state under Article 162 of the Constitution,” he said.