IPS officer TP Senkumar moves SC for contempt against Kerala government, Chief Secretary

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New Delhi | April 29, 2017 5:10 PM

The apex court had on April 24 ordered the reinstatement of Senkumar, saying he was transferred by the ruling LDF government "unfairly" and "arbitrarily".

Senior IPS officer T P Senkumar. (PTI)

Senior IPS officer T P Senkumar, recently reinstated as the state police chief, has moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt against Kerala government and its Chief Secretary alleging “wilful, deliberate disobedience” of its order reinstating him. The apex court had on April 24 ordered the reinstatement of Senkumar, saying he was transferred by the ruling LDF government “unfairly” and “arbitrarily”.  The contempt plea, filed against Chief Secretary Nalini Netto, alleged there was a “sinister intention” behind her “resolute refusal” to implement the court’s direction and sought strict punishment against her.

“It is reiterated that the contemnor (Chief Secretary) is the author of the note (to remove him from the post of the State Police Chief) dated May 26, 2016 and therefore would be reluctant to see the Petitioner (Senkumar) receive what is due to him by virtue of this court’s judgement.
“Even if the Contemnor finally implements directions, she may at all costs delay the implementation solely to frustrate the Petitioner’s cause,” the plea alleged.

The petition sought punishment to Netto under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1972 for disobedience of the order and referred to a case involving the Chief Secretary of Karnataka in which the top court had ordered one-month imprisonment to the official for not implementing the order.
Senkumar, who is due to retire on June 30, has also urged the court to extend his tenure as State Police Chief for the period which was illegally taken off from him.

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“The petitioner was appointed as the State Police Chief on May 22, 2015 for a period of 2 years and was removed illegally, as found by this court, on June 1, 2016. Therefore, going by the principles of the judgement of this court in Prakash Singh’s case, the Petitioner is entitled to his remaining tenure irrespective of superannuation,” the plea, filed through advocate Haris Beeran, said. Senkumar said he came across certain media reports indicating that the state government will not act on the judgement unless its certified copy is available to it.

Earlier, while reinstating Senkumar, the top court had said no one could help ‘God’s own country’ (Kerala’s tourism tagline) if “it is bent upon making irregular or illegal appointments to sensitive posts”.

It had set aside the order of the Kerala High Court which had upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) decision that had not found fault with the state government’s decision to transfer Senkumar from the post of the state police chief which was taken over by Lokanath Behera. The state government’s contention that Senkumar was transferred as a fallout of the events after the Puttingal Temple tragedy, in which 110 people were killed in April 2016, and the infamous Jisha murder case last May, did not cut much ice with the apex court.

The state government had told the court that Senkumar’s transfer was not a punishment for the “lapse” which had led to the Puttingal fire tragedy incident but it was for how he had handled the fallout of the tragedy and the dissatisfaction among the general public on the efficiency of the police.
The apex court, however, had snubbed the Kerala government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by putting questions whether he would remove the police chief if his cabinet colleagues were under investigation in any case.

The Kerala government had on April 11 defended in the apex court its decision to transfer Senkumar, saying he had protected “erring” police officials in the 2016 Puttingal temple fire tragedy in which 110 people were killed. The court, however, brushed aside the state government’s reference to Senkumar’s interference in the investigation in the Puttingal Temple tragedy and said the reference was somewhat incongruous.

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