Punjab Police (Amendment) Bill, 2023

The Punjab Assembly recently passed the Punjab Police Amendment Bill, 2023, which allows the state government to appoint the Director General of Police (DGP). This amendment comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s laid-down procedure for DGP appointment through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).  

Enabling State Appointment of DGP 

The Punjab Police Amendment Bill, 2023, provides the necessary legal framework for the state government to directly appoint the DGP. This enables Punjab to exercise greater autonomy and decision-making power in matters concerning the top police position. 

Composition of the Selection Panel 

According to the amendment, a seven-member committee will be responsible for selecting the DGP. A retired chief justice or judge from the Punjab and Haryana high court will preside as the chairperson of the committee. The other committee members include the chief secretary, a UPSC nominee, a nominee from the Punjab Public Service Commission, the administrative secretary of the home department, a nominee from the Union Ministry of External Affairs, and a retired DGP of Punjab Police. 

Selection Criteria and Tenure 

The bill specifies that the committee will assess eligible candidates based on selection criteria such as length of service, work record, and range of experience. Once appointed, the DGP will have a minimum tenure of three years, ensuring stability and continuity in the leadership of the state police force. 

Additional Charge and Precedence 

In the event of a vacancy, the bill allows the state government to assign the additional charge of the DGP to any officer of equivalent rank. Moreover, the provisions of Section 6 of the bill take precedence over any judgment, order, or decree of a court, emphasizing the authority and autonomy of the state in matters of police administration. 

Constitutional Framework and Border State Challenges 

The amendment bill acknowledges that public order and police fall under the state list of the Constitution of India’s seventh schedule, highlighting the exclusive domain of states in these areas. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by Punjab as a border state, the bill aims to establish an appropriate mechanism for DGP selection and appointment to address the specific needs and complexities associated with maintaining law and order. 



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