Mumbai: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay High Court alleging inaction on the part of the Union and State governments and the police authorities for failing to abolish the orderly system in the police force in Maharashtra as well as the inaction in taking strict action regarding “illegal occupation” of the Government quarters by the police officials/employees in accordance with the extant policy of the Government.
The plea filed by retired assistant commissioner of police Rajendra Kumar Trivedi has sought strict implementation of the decision taken by the government of Maharashtra way back in June 1979 regarding abolishment of house orderlies in the police department.
“Despite 75 years of independence, the State police continues to follow the aged old colonial slavery system of house orderlies under various other names including the bungalow security guard. The uniformed policemen are required to carry out the menial works at the behest of the superior police officials,” said advocate Satish Talekar for the petitioner.
Plea Demands Swift Action Against Officials Unauthorisedly Occupying Govt Quarters
The PIL also seeks immediate action against such high ranking police officials who are unauthorisedly occupying the government quarters. Several hundred crores rupees are standing in the names of such higher police officials towards penalty for unauthorised use of government quarters, the plea highlights.
Despite the recommendations given in the reports of the First National Police Commission, Second Administrative Reforms Commission and Second National Judicial Pay Commission the unjust practice of orderlies still prevail in the State of Maharashtra. The Rule 431 of Maharashtra Police Manual, 1999, allowing the allotment of house orderlies in the garb of Bunglow security guards has been abolished by the Government resolution dated september 29, 1979, yet the practice is being blatantly carried out.
Highlighting inaction on the part of the authorities in taking action against those retaining official government quarters despite transfers and retirement, the plea reads: “The inaction on the part of the respondents in taking action against such erring officials/employees who have illegally retained the Government quarters is arbitrary, discriminatory, unjust and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and an added burden on the public exchequer and the resources of the Government.”
As of October 20, 2020, 22 police officials/ employees had retained Government quarters under the establishment of Commissioner of Police, Mumbai despite the fact that they were not working with the establishment of Commissioner of Police, the plea claimed.
Details On Orderlies Posted
It adds that as of February 3, 2023, around 57 officers who are working on the establishment of the Commissioner of Police, whereas 70 officers working on establishments other than Commissioner of Police are provided with house orderlies in the garb of Bunglow security aides.
Emphasising on short staffed Mumbai police, the plea states that as of June 2023, out of 24766 sanctioned posts of police constables in the city, 9122 posts are already lying vacant and the respondent authorities are adding additional burden on the existing constabulary by deploying several of them as bungalow security guards.
Trivedi has stated on the plea, that strangely, several senior police officers against whom criminal offences were registered and were wanted by the Investigating Agencies, were extended with provision of bungalow security guards. He has named former Mumbai CP Param Bir Singh, former DCP Saurabh Tripathi and former DCP Parag Manere in his plea as those having being provided with security at their residences even when they were wanted.
The plea alleges that IPS officer K Venkatesh, who was director of the Directorate of Civil Defence, retained his government official quarters at the DGP establishment at Mumbai from 25.08.2016 to 27.09.2020, during which period he was posted either at Nagpur City or Pune City. He had preferred an application to regularise the said overstay after an outstanding amount of Rs 1,18,06,677 was sought to be recovered from him.
The PIL is listed for hearing before a decision bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor on Wednesday.