‘Pendency of case no ground for challenging Saini appointment’
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The appointment of Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini cannot be challenged, as he is not convicted in any case and charges can be framed against any officer on mere suspicion, Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal told the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday while it was hearing a case pertaining to the DGP's appointment.
Aggarwal also emphasised before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain the fact that "pendency" of any case against Saini cannot be taken as ground for challenging his appointment.
Aggarwal further stressed that a DGP's appointment does not come under the ambit of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the P J Thomas case, in which the court had held that the 'institute' was more important than the 'individual'.
He added that as per Supreme Court's guidelines, a DGP can be relieved on three grounds — an 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.
Questioning the contention of state, the bench held that here the issue was not about relieving the officer, but his 'appointment'. It later adjourned the hearing of the case for February 4.
Earlier, amicus curiae senior lawyer K N Balgopal had apprised the court about the alleged double standards of the Punjab government while promoting Saini as DGP. Balgopal had claimed that departmental promotion committee did not consider the promotion of Davinder Singh Garcha from SP to DIG, asserting that he was charge-sheeted in the Moga sex scandal despite the fact that the court had not framed charges against him. However, in case of Saini, charges were already framed but the committee still considered him fit for the promotion, he added.
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