New Delhi, Apr 24 - The Supreme Court today stayed the Karnataka High Court order which had quashed the appointment of Shankar Bidari as director general of state police, dubbing him as "worse than Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi."
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad asked the state high court to examine afresh the matter and dispose it of before May 31.
The apex court while staying the high court's March 30 order, said the latter had passed the impugned order on assumptions without going into the findings of the Justice Sadashiva Commission and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which, according to Bidari, had given him a clean chit in the case of alleged excesses and sexual abuse perpetrated by the Joint STF on tribal women.
The high court had earlier quashed Bidari's appointment saying that he was indicted by the commission as he was the deputy commandant at the time of the alleged excesses committed by the Joint STF of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, set up to track down forest brigand and notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.
The apex court said it was of a prima facie view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and NHRC were not relevant considerations for the empanelled officers, yet, it said, it was not going into the merits of the issue at this stage and left it to the high court to decide the same.
While former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam appeared for Bidari, senior counsel U U Lalit appeared for the Karnataka government.
Another senior counsel Altaf Ahmed appeared for senior IPS officer A R Infant on whose petition the high court had passed the impugned order.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by IPS officer Shankar Mahadev Bidari challenging the Karnataka High Court's order which had quashed his appointment as DGP while dubbing him as "worse than Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi."
The high court had made the stinging remark against Bidari for the alleged atrocities on women committed by the Special Task Force led by him during the hunt to nab Veerappan.
The high court had dubbed Bidari as "worse than Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi" in response to his contention that he cannot be held responsible for atrocities as he was only a deputy commander of the Joint Task Force of two states, set up to nab Veerappan and was not "omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi."
Bidari's appointment had been challenged by another DGP A R Infant who was a year senior to Bidari but had allegedly been bypassed.
Infant had alleged Bidari was appointed as state police chief despite the "black marks" on his service record due to atrocities on tribals committed during his stint as the head of the task force set up to nab Veerappan more than 20 years ago.
The NHRC had also filed complaints regarding the sexual and physical assault on tribal women in the area. The Central Administrative Tribunal had upheld Infant's plea. Bidari and the state government had challenged this in the high court.
The high court had asked the government to relieve Bidari forthwith and appoint Infant in his place.
Bidari was appointed DGP in November 2011, even though his predecessor N Achuta Rao had not completed the two-year tenure from the date of his appointment on July 5, 2011. PTI