Tamil Nadu

‘How can policemen trained to use guns be forced to cook hot dosas and chappatis?’ Madras HC questions orderly system in Police

The Madras High Court had issued ultimatum to end orderly system in police force.

The Madras High Court had issued ultimatum to end orderly system in police force. | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Madras High Court on Friday said that it was painful to pen down the existence of the colonial orderly system in the police department in Tamil Nadu even when the country is celebrating completion of 75 years of Independence.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam said the continued use of trained police personnel in the residences of top police officers for performing household and menial work, at the cost of the taxpayers' money, was nothing but a slap on the Constitution.

The judge wondered how could the policemen trained to shoot with guns be ultimately used to cook hot dosas and chappatis for the Indian Police Service officers and their family members on deputation as orderlies.

Suo motu, he impleaded the Director General of Police (DGP) as a respondent to a case pending before him and directed the officer to file a report by August 18 listing out the effective action taken to abolish the orderly system in letter and spirit.

He also warned that the court would be constrained to take other constitutional course available to it if the DGP failed to take stringent action to withdraw every police personnel deputed as an orderly in the residences of top cops.

The judge told Additional Advocate General P. Kumaresan that the DGP must actually strive to abolish the orderly system by August 15 ( Independence Day) itself and let his department's flag fly high before joining the nation in hoisting the national flag.

Earlier, the judge expressed displeasure over a report filed in court stating that only 19 orderlies had been withdrawn despite the court having given six weeks time to abolish the orderly system in toto. He said, the action was insufficient.

Justice Subramaniam said, the State government must have effective control over the police department and keep the top police officers too under check. There was no point in punishing the constables and Sub Inspectors alone for indiscipline.

He wrote that the Indian Police Service (IPS) officers must also be subjected to disciplinary proceedings under the All India Service Rules if they do not follow the court directions and government orders against the orderly system.

"The Constitution of India in it's spirit, philosophy and ethos declares that every citizen of our great nation is a Queen or King. No public servant can imagine or live in a world of Mughal emperors. The executives authorities are mere public servants," the judge said.

He added that the government could certainly one or two appoint residential assistants for doing household work in the residences of each top cop but policemen, trained for uniformed services, could not be used for such menial work.

During the course of hearing of the case, the judge said the top government officials and judges who enjoy several perks during service end up facing lot of difficulties post retirement when they do not get to enjoy any of those benefits.

"I will not shy away from including the judges too because that is the reality," the judge told the AAG who said, even the law officers face such situation after their tenure comes to an end either due to change of regime or other reasons.

Stating that the Home Secretary, as well as the DGP, should not stop with issuing warnings to the top police officers on paper, the judge insisted that effective action should be taken to ensure that those cops do not misuse their authority.

The judge also disclosed that he had been receiving several letters complaining about the use of orderlies in the residences to top police officers. Therefore, he had taken by up the issue while dealing with a case of a police officer having overstayed in a government residential quarters.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 1:45:29 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/how-can-policemen-trained-to-use-guns-be-forced-to-cook-hot-dosas-and-chappatis-madras-hc-questions-orderly-system-in-police/article65761040.ece