The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed state governments to stop the practice of appointing acting police chiefs upon the superannuation of an incumbent top cop.
Instead, the states were asked to send, to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the names of three senior police officers who could be considered as probable candidates for the posts of Director General of Police (DGP) or Police Commissioners as the case may be.
The court said that the UPSC will prepare a panel of three senior most officers with a reasonable remaining tenure up to retirement (two years or close to it) and send it to the state government to pick one of them for appointment as police chief.
The recommendations should be sent three months before the retirement of a police chief.
The order came as the Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud passed a slew of directions on police reforms in the country.
The top court’s direction to all the states and Union Territories came during the hearing of an application by the Centre seeking modification of its direction mandating compulsory two-year term, irrespective of the age of retirement, for the post of police chiefs.
The Central government told the court that some states were appointing politically convenient officers as acting police chiefs and when they get close to their retirement, they are appointed on regular basis thereby enjoying full term of two years, irrespective of the years left in their service.
The court did not modify its direction but it barred the state governments from appointing any officer as acting DGP.