DGP appointment plea: Direct allegations against Sanjay Pandey, Bombay HC to hear him before passing final order

Pandey has been directed to file reply by February 4.

Urvi Mahajani | Updated on: Friday, January 28, 2022, 03:42 PM IST

Bombay High Court | PTI
Bombay High Court | PTI

After noticing that there direct allegations are made against acting Director General of Police (DGP) Sanjay Pandey in the plea seeking directions to Maharashtra government to appoint permanent DGP, the Bombay High Court on Friday said that it will hear him before passing any final order.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and justice MS Karnik, on January 25, had reserved the order in the PIL by advocate Datta Mane seeking that as per Supreme Court order, there cannot be a post of acting DGP, it has to be a permanent post for a period of two years.
At the time, the judges said that there was no need to hear Pandey as he was not made a respondent to the PIL but it has later come to the court’s notice that there are some direct allegations against the IPS officer in the petition.

On Friday, the HC recalled its order reserving the judgment in the plea and directed the petitioner to add Pandey as a respondent in the plea.
“While dictating our judgment in the case, we came across a few paragraphs in the petition where there are certain direct allegations made against Sanjay Pandey. In view of this, we deem it appropriate and necessary to implead Sanjay Pandey as a party respondent in the petition. We will hear Sanjay Pandey first and then pass our judgment,” the court said.

Pandey has been directed to file reply by February 4. The court said the Maharashtra government and the UPSC shall also file its affidavit if they wish to by February 7. The HC has kept the PIL for further hearing on February 9.

On November 1, 2021, the then chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, as a part of selection committee, signed off on the three names - IPS officers Hemant Nagrale, Rajnish Seth, and K Venkatesham - recommended by the committee for the post of Maharashtra DGP. The post fell vacant following the transfer of Subodh Jaiswal to the CBI. However, on November 8, Kunte sent another letter to the UPSC saying that the selection committee had erred and asked it to reconsider Pandey’s name.

Advocate Datta Mane had filed a public interest litigation seeking directions to the government to appoint a DGP for the state as per the recommendation made by the empanelment committee of the UPSC on November 1 last year.

Abhinav Chandrachud, Mane’s counsel, argued that by asking the UPSC to reconsider the recommendations and in delaying the process of appointment of a permanent DGP, the government was acting in breach of the Supreme Court judgement passed in the case of Prakash Singh Badal.
According to the SC judgement, the state DGP's post must be a permanent one and that there cannot DGP. Besides, the SC also held that the DGP should have a fixed term, a minimum tenure of at least two years.

The court had earlier this week noted that Kunte’s conduct was not proper and not based on any legal principles. It had said that it did not behove Kunte to have not raised a grievance or pointed out the error committed, if any, by the committee before signing off on the three names.

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the Union government, had told the court that once the three names had been recommended, there was no question for the UPSC to reconsider the same.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Friday, January 28, 2022, 03:42 PM IST