BENGALURU: The second senior-most Indian Police Service (IPS) officer in Karnataka, Director General of Police MN Reddi, who is presently Chief of Fire & Emergency Services, Home Guards, Civil Defence & State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), on Tuesday approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the appointment of the incumbent Director General & Inspector General of Police Neelamani N Raju on the ground that the state government did not follow the Supreme Court guidelines on police reforms while appointing her as the head of police force in 2017. Neelamani is the senior-most IPS officer of the 1983 batch.

Based on Reddi’s affidavit, the CAT has issued notices to the state and central governments, asking them to file rejoinders within a fortnight.

In his affidavit, Reddi, an IPS officer of 1984 batch, who is set to retire on January 31, 2020, has pointed out the alleged lacuna in the appointment of Neelamani Raju as DG&IGP and also claimed his candidature for the post, based on a March 2019 Supreme Court order, which stated that officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service should be considered for the post of DGP&IGP.

The SC order in March was a review of its July 2018 order in which it had asked the states and Union Territories to not appoint pliable officers as acting DGPs and regularise their appointment as DGP on the day of their retirement, thereby giving them a two-year tenure past their superannuation. The court had also asked the states and UTs to send a list of senior-most IPS officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent DGP and had directed the Commission to consider officers on the basis of their merit and those “who have got clear two years of service” for appointment as DGPs.

Quoting the apex court’s judgment in the 2006 Prakash Singh vs Union of India on police reforms, Reddi, in his affidavit before the CAT, has submitted that the state government, while appointing Neelamani Raju as DG&IGP, did not send the names of the three senior-most IPS officers who were eligible for consideration by UPSC.

Neelamani Raju was appointed DG&IGP on November 1, 2017 after the superannuation of Rupak Kumar Dutta as per the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, which was amended in 2012. One of the clauses in the amended Act was regarding the appointment of the DG&IGP, as per which the police chief was to be appointed by a committee headed by the Chief Minister comprising of the Home Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition Party.

IPS officers, on condition of anonymity, have questioned Reddi’s move. “The court orders cannot be implemented with retrospective effect. Neelamani Raju was appointed in 2017 as per the KP Amendment Act and the Supreme Court order regarding the procedure of empanelment by the UPSC was reaffirmed in January 2019. Also, there is no vacancy in the post of DG&IGP in Karnataka,” they remarked.