Maharashtra wants home minister to have final say on cop transfers

India on 19 September 2013
Location : Mumbai, India | Source : Times of India. Image Source: Flickr User Prato9x

MUMBAI: Nearly four months after the state restored the DGP's powers to transfer lower-rung police officers, the government is set to take them back. The state will now bring in a new legislation empowering the home minister to take decisions regarding the police establishment. This comes a month after the state submitted a strongly worded affidavit in the apex court against police reforms.

A high-level cabinet sub-committee, headed by home minister R R Patil, has recommended to the government to make drastic changes in the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act.

In the wake of guidelines prescribed by the apex court in the Prakash Singh case, the state had set up the cabinet sub-committee to study the guidelines vis-a-vis the provisions under the law on transfers. "It has been proposed that for transfers, the tenure of senior police officers be brought down from three years to two years and that the home minister should have a final say in matters of police establishment," a senior minister told TOI on Thursday.

The minister said that as several senior police officers were awaiting transfers, the government may issue an ordinance for the purpose. "The report of the cabinet sub-committee, along with a draft copy of the ordinance, will be placed before the cabinet for a final decision. We expect to promulgate an ordinance very soon," he said.

Under the existing law on transfers, an officer is eligible for transfer after completion of a three-year tenure. At present, the chief minister is the competent authority for transfer of Class-I officers, minister in-charge of the department for the transfer of group B officials and head of the department for group-D officials.

In the Prakash Singh case, the apex court had asked the state to set up a police establishment board to decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers of and below the rank of assistant commissionerdeputy superintendent of police. The board was to be headed by a DGP and comprise four senior officers of the department. The board was to be authorized to make appropriate recommendations to the state government regarding the posting and transfers of officers of and above the rank of SP.

The state has taken the view that the apex court's guidelines are an encroachment on the executive's function. , which could be exercised only by the governor on the aid and advice of the council of ministers headed by the chief minister.

In view of the state's stand, the cabinet sub-committee submitted that a high-level panel headed by additional chief secretary (home) scrutinize all proposals on postings and transfers from the DGP and make recommendations to the state and the final decision be taken by the home minister.

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