Tamil Nadu

Register criminal cases against policemen receiving ‘ mamool’ : HC

Observing that people are frustrated with large-scale corrupt practices among public servants, the Madras High Court has directed the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Police to ensure registration of criminal cases against police personnel who receive ‘ mamool’ (a routine bribe paid by petty vendors and shopkeepers).

Justice S.M. Subramaniam said it was not sufficient to hold departmental inquiry against such police personnel and impose minor punishments like a cut in pay even if the charge was proved. “In all such cases where receipt of ‘ mamool’ is traced out, criminal cases are to be registered against the police officials,” the judge ordered.

The orders were passed while the court dismissed a 2015 writ petition filed by a special sub-inspector who had retired from service in 2010 after 33 years of service. He had challenged the punishment of a cut in pay imposed on him for the charge of having demanded ₹100 instead of the regular payout of ₹50 twice a week by a petty shop-owner.

The punishment had been imposed at the fag end of his service. Observing that no leniency or misplaced sympathy must be shown towards the corrupt, the judge wondered why did the police department stop with imposing a minor punishment on the writ petitioner without subjecting him to criminal proceedings.

“The insensitivity of the authorities is apparent. A public servant is expected to maintain utmost integrity and honesty while discharging his/her public duties and responsibilities. There should not be any room or scope for such corruption allegations,” the judge said, lamenting the corrupt practices in every other department.

“It is the constitutional mandate for every government to be efficient, people-friendly and hypersensitive in the matter of dealing with corrupt practices... No doubt, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption is in existence, but the size of the Directorate and the number of officials are not in commensurate with the corrupt practices,” the judge said.

Underscoring the need for the government to strengthen the anti-corruption and vigilance wings in every department, the judge said officials with utmost integrity must be appointed to those wings and periodical raids must be conducted. He said it must be verified whether all public servants make true disclosure of their assets.

The judge wrote a government could not succeed just by introducing beneficial schemes. It should also ensure these schemes reached the beneficiaries in a hassle-free manner without being scuttled by the corrupt public servants who demanded bribe even to perform their duties.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 12:19:26 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/register-criminal-cases-against-policemen-receiving-mamool-hc/article65561957.ece