Lawsuit against Gujarat police chief’s appointment dismissed

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit against the 2006 appointment of P.C. Pande as the director general of the Gujarat police, saying such appointments are the prerogative of the state government.

The ruling came as a bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice V.S. Sirpurkar dismissed the lawsuit that had objected to Pande’s appointment on the grounds that it would be against the interest of justice for the victims of the 2002 communal carnage in the state.

‘An appointment of a government servant is the prerogative of the particular government, particularly when it is a sensitive appointment of director general of police,’ the bench said.

Dismissing the petition, the bench said it had become redundant as Pande was due to retire in March.

A civil rights body, Citizens for Justice and Peace, headed by Teesta Setalvad, had objected to Pande’s appointment, alleging that he was the Ahmedabad police commissioner when the communal carnage broke out in Gujarat following the Feb 27, 2002, train fire killing over 59 pilgrims in Sabarmati Express at Godhra railway station in Gujarat.

The petitioner sought Pande’s removal on the grounds that his continuation would be against the interest of justice to the Gujarat riots victims belonging to the Muslim community.

In her petition, Setalvad alleged that Pandey, as Ahmedabad police commissioner, committed several irregularities in not sending reinforcements to the troubled areas.

The petitioner also apprehended interference by Pande in the probe of riot cases and administration of justice to the victims.

The bench dismissed the apprehension, saying: ‘We do not think the Gujarat courts are liable to be pressurised by a police officer’.


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