Tamil Nadu

Unable to enforce 8-hour shift for policemen, T.N. govt. tells HC

The working strength was only 1,08,650, against the sanctioned strength of 1,24,758 personnel.

The working strength was only 1,08,650, against the sanctioned strength of 1,24,758 personnel.   | Photo Credit: S.R .Raghunathan

Home Secretary cites demands of public services for not following norms.

The State government on Monday conceded before the Madras High Court that though the Police Standing Orders prescribe only eight hours of work a day as well as a weekly off day for police personnel, the department was unable to enforce the eight-hour shift system “due to the demands of public services.”

The First Bench of Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Vineet Kothari and C. Saravanan was told that there were 16,108 vacancies, beginning from the rank of Director-General of Police to a Grade II constable. The working strength was only 1,08,650, against the sanctioned strength of 1,24,758 personnel.

The submissions were made in an affidavit filed by Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition taken up by the court suo motu on the basis of directions issued by the Supreme Court to all High Courts in the country to take up such cases aimed at ensuring police reforms.

Unable to enforce 8-hour shift for policemen, T.N. govt. tells HC

A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta had requested the High Courts to monitor the issue of filling up of vacancies in the Police department and other related issues while disposing of a PIL petition filed by one Manish Kumar seeking a series of six directions to all States and Union Territories.

Subsequently, the Madras High Court took up a suo motu PIL petition with the same six directions as sought by Mr. Kumar and issued notices to the Centre and the governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Centre as well as the State government filed their response on Monday.

Centre’s stand

Central government senior standing counsel K. Srinivasamurthy in an affidavit on behalf of the Union Home Ministry stated that law and order was a State subject and that the Centre’s role was confined to providing financial assistance for the projects conceived by the State governments and union territories.

On his part, Government Pleader V. Jayaprakash Narayanan submitted Mr. Mardi’s affidavit and stated that works were under way for the constitution of the fourth Police Commission in the State.

Such commission would be dealing with all issues related to the police department and submit its recommendations to the government.

He also said that Tamil Nadu Police (Reform) Act of 2013 was already in place in the State.

Though there were 12,568 vacancies of police constables in the State, the government had recruited 5,330 constables who would be joining duty shortly after completing their ongoing training period.

“The Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board has issued notification in the dailies on March 6, 2019 for common recruitment of 2,465 Grade II constables (women Armed Reserve) and 5,962 Grade II constables (Tamil Nadu Special Police) and written examination will be (sic) held in July 2019,” the affidavit signed by the Home Secretary on October 11 read.

Status report sought

Not satisfied with the submissions, the first Bench ordered that a fresh status report be filed within a month indicating the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the government with respect to large scale police reforms in the State along with the financial implications.

The ACJ wanted the State government also to spell out the expenditure it could bear and how much it would require from the Centre.

He also requested Advocate General Vijay Narayan and Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan to assist the court on the issue since police reforms as an issue was being addressed since 1996.

After directing the High Court Registry to list the suo motu PIL petition for further hearing on November 18, the Bench ordered that the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai, or any other officer of a higher rank be present in the court on that day to assist the Advocate General.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 2:33:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/unable-to-enforce-8-hour-shift-for-policemen-govt-tells-hc-home-secretary-cites-demands-of-public-services-for-not-following-norms/article29684573.ece

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