HC reserves order, amicus curiae slams Punjab govt

Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday reserved its order in a case challenging the appointment of Sumedh Singh Saini as the Punjab DGP, the amicus curiae K N Balgopal informed the court that the state government has failed to answer certain questions in the case.

Balgopal told the court that the state failed to provide an explanations for backing Saini despite granting permission for his prosecution and for ignoring other senior officers for the post.

As the case came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, the amicus curiae further said Saini's appointment, against whom a trial is under way in a Delhi court, would do nothing but give encouragement to criminals in the state.

On the other hand, defending Saini's appointment, Punjab Advocate General (AG) Ashok Aggarwal put forth that heading a police force in a border state like Punjab was a different proposition. He once again referred to the Prakash Singh case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that a DGP can be relieved of duty on three grounds: action taken against him under the Discipline and Appeal section of the All India Services Rule, conviction in a court of law for a criminal offence or a case of corruption or being otherwise incapacitated from discharging duties.

The AG while making a reference to Section 6 of the Punjab Police Act, 2008, apprised the bench: "The state government shall select the DGP from amongst Indian Police Service officers borne on the state cadre and the state may transfer the DGP so appointed before completion of two years of his tenure, if he is convicted by a court of law in a criminal case or where charges have been framed against him by a court in a case involving corruption or moral turpitude..."

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