In a big blow to Kerala Govt. SC orders to reinstate DGP TP Senkumar, removing Behra
New Delhi, April 24: In a big blow to the Kerala Government, the Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Kerala government to reinstate the ousted DGP TP Senkumar declaring that his removal was unreasonable and not as per established law. This meant that Loknath Behera will have to be removed from the post with immediate effect.
A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was presenting its verdict on a plea filed by Senkumar early last month seeking his restoration into service. Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for DGP had argued that his removal from the post by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan can only be related to his “independent and thorough investigation into the political violence in the state in which several CPI(M) leaders had come under the probe” and had “nothing to do with his handling of Jisha murder case or Puttingal fire tragedy” as alleged by the state government.
Now the Supreme Court has ordered to reinstate TP Senkumar in his DGP post until June 30. Senkumar also questioned the decision of his removal as a breach of Section 97(2)(e) of Kerala Police Act which ensures a two-year tenure to the DGP. He was removed with one year of his tenure still left.
While the state had argued that “the petitioner had not pleaded any Mala Fides against the additional chief secretary(Home) who prepared the reports concerning to Jisha murder case and Puttingal temple fire tragedy. “These reports were relied on by the state before the administrative tribunal. It was specifically stated by the state before the tribunal that these reports and files pertaining to the same were relied on by the government to transfer the petitioner”, senior lawyer Harish Salve who had appeared for the state had argued adding “his actions were not chief like. One has to inspire confidence when he is the captain of the ship,”
“The manner in which the petitioner dealt with the temple fire and Jisha murder created widespread serious discontent among the general public about the efficiency of the state police”, the state government affidavit had stated.
Dave had argued that the state government’s decision smacked of arbitrariness. “I am being damned without reason. By the same standard, will the chief minister be removed taking responsibility for the political murders?” he asked.
The court had prima facie agreed with his submission that a top officer cannot be punished for an incident. “We have been reading in papers about crime incidents that take place almost daily. If on the basis of such incidents, you begin to remove DGP of a state, there would be no policemen left in this country to serve at this post,” the bench had said.
Maintaining that he was targeted for acting against political violence, Senkumar had said “It would be pertinent to note the disastrous increase of the spate of political killings that have occurred in the State of Kerala since my removal as State Police Chief. I took it upon myself to impose a crackdown on any form of political violence in the State, as a result of which there was a huge reduction in numbers. In the 1st year since I was removed, there have been 13 political murders in the State. It is submitted that the freedom and independence to act without fear of backlash against persons regardless of political affiliation was the intent behind this Hon’ble Courts judgment in Prakash Singhs case”