HC sets aside DGP, CP's extension but stays execution of order

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Mumbai, Feb 15 (UNI) In a blow to the state government, the Bombay High Court today set aside the extensions granted to Director General of Police Dr P S Pasricha and Mumbai Police Commissioner D N Jadhav.

The court has, however, stayed execution of the order for next three weeks that will allow both the top police officers to complete their extended tenure, which ends on February 29.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice J P Devdhar observed in its order that no case of larger public interest has been made out from the records, adding that both the DGP and police commissioner cannot be covered under provisions of rules which authorises Central Government to grant extensions.

The court also observed that the mere fact that the police officers had contributed to maintain law and order problem and had good service profiles were not grounds to bring them within the ambit of rules.

While reminding concerned authorities to act with greater exactitude and in greater public interest in such cases, the court has concluded that the orders of the Central Government granting extension to the police officers was neither reasoned nor under larger public interest and the action of government suffered from vice of arbitrariness.

The court has also noted in its order that irrelevant or extraneous considerations were taken into account during the decision making process and the relevant considerations, emerging from the All India Service Benefit Rules were not considered.

Grant of extensions at high positions does have effect on other members of the force, the judges have further noted in their order adding that grant of extension to one denies right of consideration to number of other senior officers.

The court has also observed that the state government's proposal for grant of extension to the DGP and police commissioner did not satisfy provisions of Rule 16(1) of All India Service Benefits Rules, under which the extension had been granted and Central Government's orders did not reflect any valid reasons. On the contrary, it appeared in contradiction to the very spirit of the rules.

However, the court has stayed operation of the judgment for three weeks as Advocate General Ravi Kadam and Additional Solicitor General Rajendra Raghuvanshi urged the court for the stay, so as to facilitate them to approach the Supreme Court.

Petitioner R R Tripathi had moved the High Court challenging extension granted to Dr Pasricha and Mr Jadhav saying that they were not entitled for grant of extension. His counsel Y P Singh had contended that All India Service Rules provide extension option to serving officers only if they are part of some important committee and the committee is about to be wound up or if the officer is involved in budget work. Since both the police officers did not fit within these criteria, the extension granted to them was not tenable under law.

UNI XR SR BDP RN1828

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