Non-gazetted policemen demand permission to form association

Supreme Court had dismissed petition on the same in 1986

Updated - November 06, 2019 08:18 am IST

Published - November 06, 2019 01:35 am IST - New Delhi

Delhi Police personnel hold up a list of their demands on Tuesday.

Delhi Police personnel hold up a list of their demands on Tuesday.

One of the demands of the policemen who protested outside the Police Headquarters at ITO was to bring an amendment in law to allow the non-gazetted personnel to form an association.

Currently, Delhi police non-gazetted personnel from the post of constable to Inspector are not allowed to form any kind of union or association under the Police Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act, 1966.

“A union will ease the process of taking our grievances to the higher officers,” said a policeman, who, also suggested making required amendments in the rules.

Down the line

The issue has been settled by the Supreme Court in its judgment passed on November 20, 1986 in which dismissed the plea of Delhi Police Non-Gazetted Karmchari Sangh (DPNKS).

In 1966, the non-gazetted members of the Delhi Police force wanted to form an association and for that, they constituted the Karmachari Union and applied for its registration under the Trade Union Act, 1926. Initially, the registration was declined. But after two laws — Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Act 1966 and 33 of 1966, both of which came into effect on December 2, 1966, an application for recognition was again made.

This was granted on December 12, 1966 allowing the non-gazetted members of the Delhi Police to become members of the DPNKS. Later in 1970, the Centre made further amendments to the Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Rules, 1966. The amended rules provide for revocation of the recognition granted to an association, if the said associations articles are not in conformity with the rules.

As the articles of association of the DPNKS contained a number of provisions and was not in conformity with the rules, its recognition granted revoked.

The DPNKS then challenged the constitutional validity of the Police Force (Restriction of Rights) Act and Rules before the High Court, where it got dismissed, and then at the apex court.

“The right under Article 19(1)(c) is not absolute...While the right to freedom of association is fundamental, recognition of such association is not a fundamental rights and the Parliament can by law regulate the working of such associations by imposing conditions and restrictions on such functions,” the top court had said.

“What has happened in this case is only to impose reasonable restrictions in the interest of discipline and public order...The court is dealing with a force in which discipline is the most important prerequisite,” it said.

“Non-gazetted officers consist of men of all ranks. If all the non-gazetted officers are grouped together irrespective of rank, it is bound to affect discipline. It was perhaps, realising the need to preserve discipline that the changes in the rule were effected,” the top court had said while dismissing DPNKS’s plea.

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