In a major setback to the Kerala government, the Supreme Court has asked the government to reinstate former DGP TP Senkumar, who was ousted in May last year.
The verdict by a bench comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta pronounced the verdict on Monday.
The Supreme Court has said that the government's justification that he had been removed due to the manner in which he had dealt with certain high profile cases like the Kollam fire tragedy was unacceptable and did not hold ground.
T P Senkumar, Kerala's former DGP law and order, who was removed from his post in May last year, soon after the LDF government came to power, had approached the Supreme Court in February this year against the government action of removing him.
To justify its action, the state government argued that there was dereliction of duty on the part of Senkumar during the investigation into two cases--the Puttingal temple fireworks tragedy and the Jisha murder case.
Claiming that the state government had violated the Kerala Police Act and the All India Service Rules by removing him before his two-year-term came to an end, Senkumar in his petition had said that he was removed as a part of political revenge by the CPM, as he had taken action against party leaders.
While the Kerala government had maintained that there was no mala fide intention behind the top cop's removal and that it was an "administrative decision," Senkumar told the court that his strict action against CPI (M) leaders had earned him the ire from the state government.
The Supreme Court bench comprising bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta had on April 11, reserved the judgment on the matter.
Although senior counsel Harish Salve argued for the government, senior counsel Dushyant Dave and counsel Prashant Bhushan argued that Senkumar was transferred out only days after the new LDF government came to power.
While hearing the government's submissions in the case, Justice Madan B Lokur had taken a dig at the state government and asked why it had not removed the present DGP Loknath Behera, in the wake of high drama carried out outside DGP office recently, after Mahija, mother of Nehru college student Jishnu Pranoy, was forcefully arrested and removed.
The state government had also sought for more time to submit affidavit, which the SC had denied.
"I am happy about the SC verdict. I am grateful to my lawyers who stood by me. It is not easy for a government officer, who doesnât have any other source of income to fight a legal battle like this. That too in the year of retiring from service. This is a landmark verdict for those who are working honestly. All the states will now be careful and follow laws while appointing or removing officers."