SC: Cannot transfer IPS officers on political whims
The Supreme Court clarified that politicians cannot order the transfer of senior police officers in their states before the completion of their tenure. The statement was made while reversing a decision made by the Kerala government to transfer DGP T P Senkumar before the completion of his 2-year tenure. It said action could be taken against officers only if there is credible evidence.
What was the Kerala case about?
Senior government officials in Kerala expressed the opinion that there was tremendous unfavourable public opinion against IPS officer T P Senkumar. They said this was because of the aftermath of the Puttingal temple fire and the April 2016 Jisha rape and murder case that shook the state. They accused him of failing to perform his duty and sacked him for it.
SC: need evidence to Act
The court said "The opinion of serious dissatisfaction must be based on verifiable material and not a perception that the chief minister or other senior functionary might have or the public expectation that the chief minister might imagine."
Cannot shake people's confidence in the system
Justifying their decision to reinstate Senkumar, the SC said political interference would shake people's confidence in the law and order system. It clarified that the authority of policemen cannot be compromised by the political class. It added that controlling the functioning of the police would turn it into a means of subverting the law and order process.