Supreme Court reinstates TP Senkumar as Kerala DGP
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the reinstatement of former Kerala DGP T P Senkumar, saying he was transferred "unfairly and arbitrarily". The court also gave credence to Senkumar's allegation that he was transferred due to "political vendetta" by stating that the rule of law should not become a casualty to the whims and fancies of political executive.
The top court said no one could help 'God's own country' (Kerala's tourism tagline) if "it is bent upon making irregular or illegal appointments to sensitive posts". It set aside the order of the Kerala High Court which had upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal's (CAT) decision that had not found fault with the state government's decision to transfer Senkumar from the post of the state police chief which was taken over by Loknath Behra.
The state government's contention that Senkumar was transferred as a fallout of the events after the Puttingal Temple tragedy, in which 110 people were killed in April 2016, and the infamous Jisha murder case last May, did not cut much ice with the apex court.
"On an overall consideration of the material on record and considering the case in its proper perspective, that is the events post the Puttingal Temple tragedy and the Jisha murder and not the two tragedies themselves, we have no hesitation in concluding that the appellant has been unfairly and arbitrarily dealt with," a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
"Under the circumstances, we are compelled to set aside the judgment and order of the Central Administrative Tribunal, the impugned judgment and order of the High Court as well as the order dated June 1, 2016 and direct the State of Kerala to reinstate the appellant T P Senkumar as the State Police Chief," the bench added.
The bench said it was "little disturbed" with the view expressed in the detailed counter affidavit and elsewhere that the appointment of Senkumar was irregular if not illegal.
"If that is so and the State Government of Kerala is bent upon making irregular or illegal appointments to sensitive posts, then no one can help God s own country," it said.
The bench also said that "the rule of law should not become a casualty to the whims and fancies of the political excecutive" while referring to Prakash Singh case of 2006 in which it had dealt with the police reforms in the country.
The state government had told the court that Senkumar's transfer was not a punishment for the "lapse" which had led to the Puttingal fire tragedy incident but it was for how he had handled the fallout of the tragedy and the dissatisfaction among the general public on the efficiency of the police.
The apex court, however, snubbed the Kerala government and its Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by putting questions whether he would remove the police chief if his cabinet collegues were under investigation in any case.