T. P. Senkumar case: State Government shelled out Rs. 20.14 lakh for its lawyers
Governments’ unwise decisions and policy firmness often end up in huge loss to the exchequer. One typical example is the T. P. Senkumar’s case in which the State Government had to spend lakhs of rupees in various ways. It is informed that the Government had to spend more than Rs. 20 lakh in the name of fees for the lawyers who appeared for the Government.
Senkumar while serving as the Director General of Police (DGP) in Kerala was removed from the position by the Government in April 2016. He was then appointed as the chairman of Kerala Police Housing and Construction Ltd and consequently Loknath Behra was appointed DGP.
Senkumar had appealed before the Central Administrative Tribunal and had maintained that his removal was against the norms of Kerala Police Act. According to the Act, the term for a DGP is two years. Senkumar had not served his period when he was removed. The officer had also approached the High Court but the verdicts by both of these institutions were against him. Later Senkumar filed a petition before Supreme Court which directed the Government to reinstate him.
The Apex Court’s action of interfering in the case had triggered great debate and discussions on judicial review. The Government had pointed out its dismay in the officer’s work in several crucial cases such as Jisha murder and Puttingal fire tragedy that had caused his removal. However, the counsel who appeared for Senkumar, argued that it was the latter’s probe into the various political murders in the State that had the ruling party leaders as perpetrators caused him being displaced.
Senkumar had also stated in his appeal that the removal had caused “irreparable effect” on his career. The State Government without obeying the SC order appealed against the Apex Court’s verdict. It was Hareesh Salve, P. P. Rao, Sidharth Luthra and Jaydeep Gupta who appeared for the State Government. The Government had to spend Rs. 20.14 lakh for their fees.
It is informed that besides fees to the lawyers, the Government had to bear their travel and accommodation expenditure. Apart from lawyers, Government officials including Nalini Netto had to travel to Delhi several times and the Government had to spend for these journeys as well. This would again come around another Rs.20 lakh or more.
“The Governments often spend such unnecessary amount to satisfy their interests. In this case the Government should not have taken the decision to remove Senkumar from the position. It was because of that he approached the Apex Court and the State Government was actually appealing against the verdict. It was not the Government which began the legal procedure and one can perhaps justify it in that sense. Governments should not invite unnecessary and avoidable expenditure to satisfy their interests out of taxpayer’s money,” opined Advocate Jayasankar, noted media critic and political analyser.
Senkumar was later reinstated as DGP by the Government in May 2017. He retired from service in June 2017.
When contacted, Kerala State Law Secretary B. G. Harindranath said that he could not say anything on why the Government spends lakhs of money to satisfy its vested interests in the appointment of Government officials as he was one among them. “I am serving as a Government employee. It’s all part of the Government’s policy decisions and why should I say anything against a democratically-elected Government. I may feel it is right or bad but my opinion is irrelevant here and I have no particular opinion about it,” he said.