Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed that a criminal PIL seeking appointment of Mumbai Police Commissioner be listed as a civil petition before an appropriate bench.
Stating that it was a civil matter and wrongly listed as criminal PIL, the High Court bench, headed by Justice P V Hardas, said that this argument should be heard on merit and ordered that the PIL be listed as a civil petition before an appropriate bench.
The criminal PIL, filed by one Ketan Tirodkar, said that the police morale was down as the Police Commissioner`s post in Mumbai was lying vacant since February 1 after Satyapal Singh took voluntary retirement. It prayed for appointment of police chief immediately.
The petitioner made a grievance before the High Court, alleging that the Maharashtra Government had not set up a Police Establishment Board to deal with postings and transfers of police officers in keeping with a 2006 Supreme Court directive.
The petitioner cited the 2006 Supreme Court judgement in the case of Prakash Singh versus Union Government which ruled that every state should set up a Police Establishment Board to decide on transfers, postings and promotions of police officers below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.
The Supreme Court judgement had also asked the state governments not to interfere with the decision of the Board unless in exceptional cases and that too after recording reasons for doing so, the petitioner pointed out.
Satyapal Singh had resigned recently to join politics and his post has been lying vacant so far.
The PIL referred to media reports that the new police
commissioner has not been appointed yet because of differences between the ruling alliance partners Congress and NCP.
The petitioner stated that both Congress and NCP were trying to push minority community candidates. If such appointments were made for political considerations, then the people will have to pay a heavy price.
The PIL sought an affidavit from the state, stating reasons for dropping a post of Director General of Police in 2012-13 and allowing Satyapal Singh to continue as Mumbai Police Commissioner while denying him a promotion as a DGP.
The PIL also sought a direction to the government to submit minutes of meetings held since January 31 to decide on the Commissioner and furnish list of eligible candidates to the Court.