The Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of ousted Kerala DGP T.P. Senkumar, sending out a clear message that police officers cannot be made scapegoats by politicians in power.
A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Dipak Gupta held that Senkumar has been unfairly treated by the newly formed government. The decision is likely to have repercussions in States were police chiefs were removed by the political dispensation against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Prakash Singh that DGP should have a fixed tenure of two years and not be subject to the whims of the political powers in the State.
“On an overall consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that Mr. Senkumar has been unfairly treated. We have no hesitation in setting aside the judgment and directing the reappointment of the petitioner,” the Supreme Court held.
The decision would unseat the present DGP Lokanath Behara.
Senkumar, who was removed as State Police chief, by the LDF government immediately on assuming office, had approached the Supreme Court after failing in his bid to get a favourable order from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The LDF government had removed him contending that his handling of the Puttingal firework disaster and the rape and murder of the Dalit law student at Perumbavoor were “totally unsati
sfactory.” The CAT had taken the position that the State government was well within its power to remove him from the post.
Senkumar, represented by senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocates Prashant Bhushan and Haris Beeran, launched a strident personal attack against Vijayan in the Supreme Court, accusing the Chief Minister of removing him for political motives.
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