Gujarat Lok Sabha Elections : 14 IPS Officers in Unprecedented Leave Reserve Situation

Prior to Lok Sabha elections model code of conduct in Gujarat, the state government had initiated an exercise to transfer IPS officers across the state


Gandhinagar : Gujarat Police finds itself in an unusual situation with 14 IPS officers currently on leave reserve while still receiving their regular pay. This marks the first instance in the state’s police history where such a large number of senior officers are in this position.

The situation stems from the Lok Sabha election code of conduct, which came into effect on March 16th, 2024. Prior to this date, the state government had initiated an exercise to transfer IPS officers across the state. However, the process stalled due to an unresolved decision regarding the appointment of the new Surat Police Commissioner. This impasse led to a domino effect, delaying the transfer of IPS officers throughout Gujarat.

Adding to the complexity, the Election Commission mandated that officers who had been in their current positions for more than three years must relinquish their posts. This directive placed 14 IPS officers in an unprecedented leave reserve status. These officers report to the Gandhinagar Police Bhavan every morning solely to register their presence, but are currently without any specific assigned duties.

While this situation is atypical, it’s important to note that leave reserve is a common practice for lower-ranking officers, such as Police Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors. Reasons for this typically include disciplinary measures or ongoing transfer procedures. However, for IPS officers, being on leave reserve for such an extended period, let alone in such high numbers, is a stark departure from the norm.

The current situation highlights the challenges posed by the election code of conduct. While necessary to ensure fair elections, it can create administrative hurdles and, in this case, lead to a temporary imbalance in the deployment of senior police personnel.

The state government currently has the flexibility to call upon these officers if a situation requiring their expertise arises. However, given the absence of any immediate security concerns, the 14 IPS officers remain in a holding pattern, awaiting the resolution of the transfer process after the elections.