The Union ministry of home affairs’ (MHA) notification of September 25 to bring posts of Chandigarh-cadre deputy superintendents of police (DSPs) under the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DANIPS) cadre has evoked sharp reactions in Punjab.

Despite sharing Chandigarh as its joint Capital with Haryana since 1966, Punjab leaves no opportunity to assert its right over the Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh. No surprise that the Centre’s move has kicked up a row with the ruling Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) protesting against it as the notification dilutes Punjab’s claim on Chandigarh.

As per the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, which bifurcated the erstwhile State of Punjab and paved the way for the formation of Haryana and Chandigarh, all assets and liabilities were to be bifurcated between the states of Punjab and Haryana in the ratio of 60:40.

But for many years now, both Punjab and Haryana have not been sending their DSPs for posting in Chandigarh, thus leaving vacant the posts for the officers of the DANIPS and Chandigarh Police cadre, both of which are under the MHA.

As per the Central government notification, the Chandigarh Police-cadre has been merged with the DANIPS cadre which has been renamed as the National Capital of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Chandigarh (Police Services) Rules 2018.

This move is being justified as an attempt to improve the working of Chandigarh Police. At present, there are 23 posts of DSP-rank officers in Chandigarh Police. Out of this, 10 are filled with DANIPS-cadre officers and the remaining 13 are occupied by Chandigarh Police officers who attain the rank of DSP on promotion.

The post of director general of police (DGP) and deputy inspector general (DIG) of police are filled from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories cadre (AGMUT cadre). The post of SSP (traffic) is filled from Haryana cadre and post of SSP is filled from Punjab cadre. Of the 23 sanctioned posts of DSPs in Chandigarh, there are 13 DSPs from Chandigarh Police Service and 10 from DANIPS.

At present, Assistant Sub Inspector is the highest rank at which a candidate is directly recruited in Chandigarh Police. Therefore, the Chandigarh Police cadre officers, who join as assistant sub-inspector and get promoted to the rank of DSP after getting to the post of inspector, remain posted in the city during their service.

This has apparently led to a cadre war between local and outside officers belonging to DANIPS, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories cadre (AGMUT cadre) or the officers of the Punjab and Haryana cadre who get postings in the city for a set tenure. Pointing to this cadre war, Punjab cadre IPS officer Naunihal Singh, posted then as the senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Chandigarh Police, had blamed the UT Police’s “problem” of a permanent cadre up to the rank of DSPs for “indiscipline and insubordination” in the force.

Naunihal made the statement while deposing as a defence witness in the graft case against former Chandigarh SP Deshraj Singh in the CBI court. The CBI had laid the trap to catch Deshraj on the complaint of Chandigarh Police inspector Anokh Singh. The 2008-batch IPS officer Deshraj was recently held guilty and awarded three years in the bribery case.

During the trial as a defence witness, Naunihal had said, “Chandigarh Police is an excellent police force. However, it has a problem of a permanent cadre up to the rank of deputy superintendent of police. This over a period of time had created serious issues of discipline in the force especially where senior officers had tried to hold the subordinate accountable for their actions or discipline them in the larger public interest.

“The situation was serious enough to be brought to the notice of seniors, including the Ministry of Home, and there was active consideration to merge the permanent cadre of the subordinate of ficer swith the AGMUT cadre so as to curtail the creation of vested interests in the city,” Naunihal had told the court.

So while the Centre’s move may bring an end to the cadre war in Chandigarh Police, it will also give city police DSPs a chance to serve out of the city and get better exposure. It will improve their chances of getting to the post of Superintendent of Police. The retirement age will also go up from 58 years to 60.