HC gives govt final chance to respond
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday granted four weeks time to central and state governments to file its response to objections raised by a fellow police officer over the appointment of Shesh Paul Vaid as the Director General of Police (DGP) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The division bench comprising of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray while hearing the petition said that the petition would be heard without the respondent’s version if the central and state governments fail to file objections within four weeks time.
Director General of Prisons, J&K SK Mishra has filed a petition in the high court through his counsels Ajaz Ahmed and Shuja-ul-Haq challenging the appointment of Vaid as police chief.
Advocate Ajaz argued that the appointment of Vaid as DGP was in violation of the business rules as the cabinet at the time of his appointment had not taken the merit of Mishra’s candidacy into consideration. He said that as per the Supreme Court’s guidelines, if there are three equally senior officers, then the most meritorious and competent among them has to be selected for the superior post.”
The guidelines have not been followed and the cabinet took it as a non-agenda item. Mishra’s merit was neither considered nor discussed, Advocate Ahmed argued.
In 2006, the Supreme Court in a verdict had directed all state governments to establish a state security commission to outline the procedure for selection of the Director General of Police, but Jammu and Kashmir is yet to set up the commission.
The commission is to be formed so that the DGP would be accountable before the rule of law, but here the cabinet has done it in a pick-and-choose policy and, as such, there can be no transparency, the lawyers argued.
Mishra had earlier challenged Vaid’s appointment before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), on the grounds that the appointment order was in violation of Business Rules and also against the SC verdict. The lawyers argued that the CAT decision passed on September 21 be quashed and the J&K government be directed to promote Mishra to the post of DGP.
Mishra had also said in his petition that as the authorities, particularly the chief secretary and the principal home secretary, had committed willful breach of law as laid down by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh’s case, contempt proceedings should be initiated against them. Mishra also submitted before the court that CAT had also fallen in grave error in holding that the directions passed by apex court were discretionary in nature and not mandatory.
Mishra also has said in his petition that when K Rajendra, ex-DGP, was on leave, Mishra held his charge. Mishra was empanelled as Additional Director General (ADG) with 1985 batch officers by the Government of India, while Vaid was dropped and was not empanelled as such with his batch mates of 1986.The matter will be heard on 26 December.