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Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Governance: Appointment process

 

Source: IE

 Context: The Punjab Vidhan Sabha, under the AAP government, has passed the Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

  • This bill aims to amend and replace certain clauses in The Punjab Police Act, 2007, regarding the appointment of the state Director General of Police (DGP).

  

Major features of the Act:

  • The bill will grant the state government the authority to appoint a DGP of its choice.
  • The bill proposes the formation of a seven-member Empanelment Committee by the Punjab government.
  • The committee will select three senior-most officers from the pool of eligible officers based on their length of service, record, and experience to lead the police force.
  • The provisions of the bill will prevail over any court judgments, orders, or decrees.

 

Issues with the Bill:

As per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the former DGP Prakash Singh case (2006) on police reforms, the state government is supposed to send a panel of eligible officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). UPSC then shortlists three officers from the panel and the state government would select an officer of its choice among those three.

 

In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered that any rule or law that goes against the guidelines should not be enforced. Therefore, the current bill goes against the Supreme Court’s direction and contradicts it.

 

Punjab Government’s argument for the bill:

  • “Public order” and “Police” fall under the state’s jurisdiction, as per the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • A proper mechanism for the selection, appointment, and removal of the DGP is necessary, considering the specific challenges faced by Punjab as a border state.

 

Conclusion:

Punjab has witnessed recent violent incidents involving Sikh separatists and a deteriorating law and order situation. However, this should not be used as a justification to disregard the Supreme Court’s directive. It is important to strike a balance between the state’s authority in appointing bureaucrats and ensuring adherence to legal and constitutional procedures.

 

Insta Links:

Resurfacing of extremism in Punjab

 

Mains Links: 

During the 1980s, Punjab was engulfed by a separatist movement which was transformed into a campaign of terror. What were the reasons for the genesis of this problem? Critically discuss. (250 Words)