Pradeep Pattanayak

Following the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) letter to seven states including Odisha regarding the appointment of regular Director General of Police (DGP) despite the availability of eligible officers, discussions on why the Odisha government hasn’t made a regular appointment have started gathering steam. 

Last week, the Union Home Secretary had written letters to the Chief Secretaries of seven states that have acting police chiefs. Besides Odisha, the other states are Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. 

In the letter, the MHA has expressed dissatisfaction over ignoring the 2006 direction of the Supreme Court. It stated that the appointment of acting DGPs should be avoided or appointed in exceptional cases only and regular DGPs should be appointed with a tenure of two years. 

Recently the Odisha government appointed Arun Sarangi as the acting DGP. The appointment was made by flouting the Supreme Court’s direction. 

Also Read: Arun Sarangi given additional charge as Odisha DGP till joining of regular DGP 

As per the rule, the state government should send three names of eligible officers to the UPSC three months ahead of the incumbent DGP’s retirement. The High-level committee will choose one of them. 
Now a question arises that even though the Odisha government was aware of former DGP Sunil Bansal's retirement on December 31, why it did not send names of eligible officers. 
“During election time, a DGP plays a key role. If a DGP is appointed as an officiating one, I can’t think of a more unfortunate situation than this,” said Prasanna Mishra, former secretary to the Government of India.

Former DGP Bipin Mishra said, “As the UPSC has not sent any name, what the state government should have done. So it has appointed an acting DGP who, it believes, can manage the election efficiently.”

When asked, former Odisha Home Secretary, Sanjeev Kumar Hota said, “If no letter from the UPSC is received, then there is no option but to appoint an acting DGP. But if they have received the letter, then it can be termed as a violation of the Supreme Court’s direction.”