Observing that allegations of misuse of office by higher officers in the police department were on the rise, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to spell out the measures it intends to take against those who engage orderlies at their residences, do not vacate residential quarters on time, misuse the department’s name in private vehicles, use black sun film on car windows and so on.
Justice S.M. Subramaniam issued the direction while dealing with a writ petition filed by a police officer, U. Manickavel, who had vacated an official residential quarters only in January this year though he was supposed to have handed over its possession to the estate officer in 2014. The judge expressed anguish over no action taken against him for his overstay at the official residence for nearly eight years.
Though the petitioner had obtained an interim order in his favour in January 2014, it got vacated in April 2014. A writ appeal preferred by him was also dismissed with liberty to raise all contentions during the final hearing of the writ petition. However, when the writ petition was taken up for the final hearing now, the judge was shocked to learn that the petitioner continued to be in occupation of the quarters all these years.
He was aghast to find that despite being summoned, Mathew David, Assistant Commissioner, Estate Welfare and Community Policing, did not file any report on the action taken against the petitioner for overstaying. Taking a serious note of the issue, the judge said police officers could not be allowed to abuse their power at the expense of the taxpayers’ money. He said the government must act against such officers.
Further, referring to a host of other allegations of misuse of office by police officers, the judge said several of those allegations either go unnoticed or the government fails to take action. “When such allegations are in the public domain and more so, visible, the government is expected to initiate appropriate action to control such abuse of power by higher police officials in order to maintain discipline in the force and to ensure public order in society,” he added.
The judge called for a report from the government by June 21, listing the action it proposed to take against police officers who misuse their office.