L. Srikrishna

On an average, 75-80 petitions are received every day: officers

CHENNAI: What started out as a people-friendly measure at the office of the Commissioner of Police (CoP) is now struggling to retain relevance as an effective redressal mechanism.

The practice of directly receiving petitions from the public on working days was started as a bid to redress the common man's grievances. The facility, no doubt, was of great help to members of the public with genuine grievance, but over the years, the redressal meetings appear to have become more a ritual with not many petitions resulting in tangible action.

The CoP's office sees hectic activity during weekdays as members of the public turn up to submit petitions. While a few come on their own to represent their case, many are accompanied by mediators.

An officer told The Hindu here on Tuesday that on an average, 75-80 petitions are received every day. Each case is recorded and forwarded for necessary remarks to the CoP who, in turn, sends it to the police station or officer concerned for action.

The petitions mostly relate to civil disputes, quarrels between neighbours, recovery of loans, eloping with or kidnap of minor girls, etc. Though some cases pertain to cheating or breach of trust over financial dealings, many cases revolved around divorce and illicit relationships.

Of late, the Commissioner's office has been receiving an increasing number of petitions from eloping couples seeking police protection in anticipation of parents and relatives turning hostile.

Recently, CoP Letika Saran stated that many young couples sought refuge by going to the media, which they believed deterred punishment from family members. The other day, an actor complained to the police that her boy friend was cheated by a gang and sought immediate action. There was wide coverage in the media about the actor's visit, but the case has seen little progress, an officer admitted.

Mediators in different forms accompany the petitioners here claiming that they have influence with the top brass and that their grievances would be redressed at a fast pace. Believing this, innocent people part with money, an officer said.

Many petitioners claimed they visited the CoP's office at least more than thrice to check on the status of the petitions submitted.

While welcoming the grievance redressal mechanism at the CoP's office as an apex body, an officer suggested that petitioners submit their case with the police station concerned or the immediate superior officer in their area. In the event of inaction, they can take up the issue with the Commissioner, he suggested.