PUNJAB CHIEF Minister Amarinder Singh said that allowing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to constitute a panel of IPS officers to select a state’s DGP was “an infringement” on the rights of the state.
In his first remarks on the Supreme Court directions, he said his government was seeking a review in order to “preserve the spirit of federalism”. The July 3 Supreme Court directions are that a state government must submit names of eligible candidates for the post of DGP to a UPSC panel, which would shortlist three, from which the government will choose one as its top police officer.
“I am very clear that this amounts to dilution of powers to the states. We do not agree with this. We are in the process of filing a review petition for the apex court order,” Amarinder told The Indian Express.
He is the first Chief Minister to have spoken on the issue of the apex court’s July 3 directions on appointment of DGPs.
“My stand is very clear. Punjab has gone through very bad times after the Anandpur Sahib resolution by Akalis seeking autonomy for Punjab. We lost 35,000 people to militancy in the state. There are issues concerning sharing of river waters. And now, there is this threat to the federal structure,” he said.
“Earlier, they took away from the states the powers to appoint judges, then the DGPs and subsequently the Vice-Chancellors,” he said.
“I am telling you the next will be the Chief Secretary. They would want the Centre to appoint the Chief Secretary to every state. This is against the spirit of federalism and dilution of powers to the states. We do not agree with this. We will take this up.”
“I do not know whether the Supreme Court listens to us or not but we will make it clear that law and order is a state subject. Hence, the DGP too has to be state’s choice. We will tell them this,” he said.
He reiterated, “I cannot allow a repeat of what happened after Anandpur Sahib resolution. Punjab was pushed into militancy. We suffered so much of bloodshed and faced trouble-torn times.”
Punjab DGP Suresh Arora is set to retire on September 30, just three months after the apex court’s directive. Amarinder did not comment on whether Arora would get an extension. Haryana, too, has decided to go for a review as its DGP B S Sandhu is also retiring at the end of the month.