Faced with a controversy over “excessive political interference” in the functioning of the police, Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil on Wednesday restored the powers of posting and transfer of police inspectors, assistant police inspectors and police sub-inspectors to the director-general of police.
The move to wrest these powers from the DGP and vest it with the home department, first reported by The Indian Express on May 1, had left the police establishment fuming, and provoked criticism from former police officers and bureaucrats.
Wednesday afternoon’s order said the home department had decided to accord the rights of transfer and posting of PIs, APIs and PSIs across Maharashtra to the DGP. The home ministry has conveyed its decision to the DGP’s office, state general administration and the Ministry of Finance.
“I have already given all the powers related to posting and transfer vested with me to the DGP. But the posting and transfer rights which are under the chief minister’s jurisdiction remain unchanged. All the posting and transfer of IPS officials and mid-tenure postings of API/PI and those on recommendations are taken by the chief minister,” Patil said. “I am now left with just running the home ministry and maintaining law and order without any power to decide on promotions and transfers.”
The home minister claimed that the April order withdrawing the posting and transfer rights from the DGP was part of administrative procedure, and dictated by a discrepancy in the existing Act governing transfers and postings of gazetted officers. He said the Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005 (Transfer Act), adopted in 2006, had made it mandatory to accord posting and transfer rights of API/PI and PSI to the home department, which requires approval from the Maharashtra Public Service Commission.
“For the last five years, successive additional chief secretaries (Home) had urged DGPs to provide their list of postings and transfer to the GAD and FM. But the home minister intervened and allowed the DGP to exercise his powers,” Patil said. “As far as the department is concerned there are no differences. The present DGP is an upright officer and shares excellent rapport with me. The matter is over.”