A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said this applies to a panel of Indian Police Service officers to be prepared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
The top court had reserved its order on February 28.
The order came on an application contesting the practice of the UPSC preparing the panel of IPS officers with two years or more of service left for appointment as Director Generals of Police in states, overlooking senior officers with excellent service record.
The court was told that the UPSC's decision was causing havoc and a number of senior officers were resigning in protest.
The UPSC, the court was told, was doing so citing an apex court order of July 3, 2018 which said that "as far as practicable" those considered for the poste should "have got two years of service. Merit and seniority should be given due weightage".
The court was told that competent senior police officers were not being considered for appointment as the head of the police force in states.
The Centre had left it to the court to spell out the "reasonable" remaining term before an IPS officer's superannuation to be considered for inclusion in the panel for appointment as DGP.
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