By S A Ishaqui
Hyderabad, March 19: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday pulled up the Centre for awarding Presidential gallantry awards to three IPS officers of the state without ascertaining whether they actually deserved it.
Mr K.N. Rao, a practising advocate of the High Court, filed a petition pointing out that Mr A. Siva Shankar, Mr Sriram Tiwari and Mr Nalini Prabhat, senior IPS officers, got the medals for an encounter with Maoists in which they did not take part.
Three top Maoist leaders Nalla Adireddy alias Shyam, Yerram Reddy Santosh Reddy alias Mahesh and Seelam Naresh were killed in the encounter that took place in Koyyur forest area in Karimnagar district on December 2, 1999.
“This court cannot determine or infer whether the three officers personally participated in the event for which the medals were awarded,” said a division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice G.V. Seethapathy while disposing of the petition.
The bench asked the Centre to examine the issue and take an appropriate decision with due regard to the prestige and honour associated with President’s police medal for gallantry.
According to the judges, the manner in which the Centre dealt with the issue put the prestige and integrity of the medals in jeopardy.
“The Centre has a fiduciary duty in processing the recommendation of the state government for the award of medals and it can neither be abdicated nor outsourced to the state,” said the court. “This however happened.”
Earlier, the state government had conducted a disciplinary inquiry against the same officers but later dropped the charges.
The court, expressing dissatisfaction over the inquiry, however, said that it was not giving any directive as the petitioner did not challenge the decision of the state government to drop charges.