The HC asked the govt to furnish details of charges recovered and pending for recovery in such matters.
Mumbai: Coming down heavily on the state government for failing to recover charges from private persons and VIPs for police security provided to them, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to furnish details of charges recovered and pending for recovery in such matters within a week.
The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M.S. Sonak on Friday issued this direction while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former scribe turned social activist Ketan Tirodkar seeking directions for the government to filter out security at ministers residence and instead of policemen deploy Home Guards for this job.
Advocate Sadhna Kumar, representing Mr Tirodar, told the court that though there are charges fixed for providing police security, in most of the cases the VIPs and private persons do not pay their charges and the policemen are deployed on their security free of cost. According to her, this practice should be curbed and instead of policemen the Home Department should deploy guard-duty at ministers’ houses because policemen are allegedly made to do household works too.
Government pleader Abhinandan Vagyani told the court that police protection is provided to a person only after verifying that security is required and the person has threat to his life and he or she is charged. He agreed to provide details of total amount recovered and pending for police security till now.
Mr Tirodkar while speaking to The Asian Age said, in the past special branch of the Mumbai police in its report had said that certain private persons, including politicians, do not require police protection any more. Despite this report, police security is extended to them for no reason, he said. “Our contention is that how many such ‘threat perception reports’ are being issued and despite that security is provided and still charges are not collected from these persons so this practice should be stopped,” said Mr Tirodkar. He also said that he does not have the figure that is supposed to be recovered in this regard.
It is mentioned in the petition that the salaries of the police inspectors and constables are miserably low as compared to the demand of the job profile. “There are no fixed working hours and weekly offs are at the mercy of the IPS officers and they do not come as a matter of right for the force,” said the petition.
The petition has also alleged that 20 per cent of the force is employed at the residences of ministers and bureaucrats in the name of guard-duties. “In reality they perform housemaid’s tasks for the wives and children of these British-styled rulers,” the petition further alleged.
According to the petitioner, there has to be a series of reforms in the police force to bring good changes. The petition has suggested that guard duty at the residences of the ministers and bureaucrats be filtered on “dire need” basis and a judicial commission assisted by retired bureaucrats of fine stature decide the criteria for this.