Submit detailed report on tainted police officers: HC to Punjab govt

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the Punjab government to submit a report, within three months, with complete details of the action taken against 'tainted' police personnel in the state.

The Court has sought details of the number of such cases being investigated, the number pending and those that are in the trial stage. It also took exception to a Punjab DGP circular, dated May 18, 2010, which directed various appointing authorities in the Police Department to not dismiss police officials, who have been convicted of criminal charges for offences, where the prescribed maximum punishment is less than 3 years, irrespective of quantum of sentence awarded.

A bunch of petitions against 'tainted' police officials came up for hearing before a Division Bench comprised of Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain.

One of petitioners, lawyer H C Arora, apprised the court that 22 Punjab Police officials, convicted for various criminal offences, have been retained in service due to the DGP's circular. The petitioner contended that the circular was in violation of Constitutional provisions contained under Article 311, which, he said, states that the conduct leading to conviction has to be examined by the appointing authority before a quantum of punishment is imposed on convicted government servants. He also argued that impugned circular is against Punjab Police Rules, and encourages criminalisation of the police.

The bench queried the state's additional advocate general on the DGP's circular. It further asserted that it is the discretion of the appointing authority to remove or retain a convicted police official and wondered how the DGP could direct the authority.

While observing that the "circular appears to be prima-facie unconstitutional and liable to be quashed," the bench directed Additional Advocate General Rita Kohli, to come prepared with answers to all these questions, and also with instructions from the state so that the constitutionality of the DGP circular's may be decided.

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