The Supreme Court on April 24 said that a senior police offier, who has been granted a fixed tenure cannot be removed or transferred midway on the whims and directions of politicians. The apex court quashed the Kerala government’s decision to remove senior IPS officer TP Senkumar as DGP before completion of his two-year tenure.

The Supreme Court observed that political interference in police administration can shake people’s belief in the system. A bench of Justice MB Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said the government could take action against senior police officials only if there was credible evidence.

According to a Times of India report, the court said that it cannot overlook the fact that in the event of any law and order or public order situation, it is the policeman that is the first responder and if the authority of the first responder were to get compromised, then the public would not have anyone to turn to for assistance resulting in the crumbling of the rule of law. This certainly cannot be permitted.

The court also said that the police needs freedom to function properly and it should be protected from those to want to control its independent functioning.

The bench said excessive control by the politicians over police had the inherent danger of making it a tool for subverting the process of law. The SC also refused to give credence to the state government’s allegations that the IPS officer had failed to perform his duty properly.

The court directed that the DGP should have a minimum tenure of two years irrespective of the date of superannuation. Senkumar was transferred from the post of Director General of Police two days after the CPI(M)-led LDF government assumed office on May 25, 2016.