Police not authorised to stop or allow construction: Bassi

September 20, 2014 09:28 am | Updated 09:28 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi

Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi

The Delhi Police will soon launch a campaign to inform people that the police have no authority to allow or stop construction activity without the endorsement of municipal bodies.

The move aims at curbing corruption in the force’s own ranks. Staff at the police station level has been found demanding bribes from the public despite having no authority to start or stop construction on its own.

A circular explaining the limited role of the police in such matters has been issued and would be publicised in the coming days, said the Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Friday. He said that as per the laws, police officers can only report such matters to the municipal bodies concerned and leave it to them to decide whether there are any violation of rules or not.

“SHOs can only stop such construction work on the receipt of orders from competent officer of Municipal Authority saying so. We want to make it very clear that unless a policeman produces the order, he has no business at the construction site,” said Mr. Bassi.

According to Section 475 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the police can only inform the municipal body, said the circular. This, however, is far from the situation on the ground where gullible people not aware of the rights and domains of different agencies fall prey to such demands.

“The SHO is also responsible to ensure no police officer under him misuses or misrepresents this authority for ulterior purpose,” says the circular.

The latest move thus comes as a relief to many people who have fallen prey to the threats issued by beat officers and even Station House Officers who label constructions as “unauthorised” without producing any document to back their claim. Bribes, many of them tell the victims, is the only way out. Worse, they pick up labourers and seize equipment if people refuse to pay bribe.

The Commissioner acknowledged that frequent transfers of SHOs has not been a very effective measure to curb such practices as they started exploring new grounds with every new posting.

The Delhi Police have also urged the public that they should record any demand of bribe by any police officials in lieu of allowing unauthorised construction or stopping the same and send the clip of audio/visual recording through WhatsApp on mobile number 9910641064 or inform the vigilance anti-corruption Helpline 1064.

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