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Suspense over Mumbai's new police commissioner to end in a few days

The procedure laid down by the newly introduced police reforms means that the appointment of a new commissioner of police may take another 3-4 days

The procedure to appoint a new commissioner of police (CP) for Mumbai will begin soon. But it’ll be a few more days before the city can see its new police head. The previous CP Satyapal Singh handed in his resignation on January 30. But, after the Governor promulgated an ordinance on police reforms that defines procedures of posting and transfers of officials, choosing Singh’s successor may take time.

Satyapal Singh put in his papers on January 30. File pic
Satyapal Singh put in his papers on January 30. File pic

The proposal for appointment of a new commissioner will be put up before the Police Establishment Board, which got legal status thanks to the state government’s decision to amend the Maharashtra Police (Amendment) Act, 2014, said sources in the know of developments.

This board is under Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Dr Amitabh Rajan, and has four members — Director General (DG) of Police, DG of Anti-Corruption Bureau, CP Mumbai and the additional DCP (establishment) — who will officiate as member secretaries of the board.

This body will take at least two days to convene a meeting, where names of various officials will be discussed as per their seniority and service record. The proposal for the new appointment will be moved by the home department. The board is also expected to listen to grievances of the officials who feel injustice was done, in case their name is not suggested.

After this, the proposal with the recommendation of a new CP will be forwarded to the government and it will then go to the chief minister. The CM is the final authority in matters regarding postings and transfers of IPS rank officials, informed an official from the state government. In this case, the appointment will take another three or four days, said sources from the home department.

Under tough authority
While the police have been freed from the shackles of politicians, according to the new police reforms, they have to answer to a complaints authority, in case anyone has a grievance against them. The authority is headed by a retired high court judge at the state level, and will have four members, three of whom will be retired senior officials from the police and state government.

The body’s divisional level wings, headed by a retired district judge, may prove to be a deterrent to officials who take policing powers as a licence to behave according to their whims and fancies. The state level authority will enjoy the status of a civil court, and the government shall accept its reports. In case of a rejection, the state needs to put it in writing along with its reasons.

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