HC slams Centre for not clearing additional Delhi Police force

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday slammed the central government for not clearing funds to create additional posts in the Delhi Police, wondering how an inadequate force would ensure safety of women, children and elderly.

Hearing a PIL seeking measures for women’s safety in Delhi and to increase police presence, a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva took a jibe at the central government’s approach in managing the Delhi Police force.

“You talk of technology… how many of Delhi Police personnel have bullet-proof vests? You are not even giving them basic infrastructure,” said the bench.

The court asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to make the government’s stand clear on additional police force in Delhi by the next date of hearing, February 9.

It questioned the union finance ministry’s expenditure department for not clearing funds meant for recruitment of additional police personnel in Delhi despite clearance from the home ministry.

“Two ministries are loggerhead with each other, one asking for additional police force and another not clearing it,” it said. The Delhi police is controlled by the home ministry of the central government.

Senior advocate Chetan Sharma and advocate Shailendra Babbar, appearing for Delhi police, told the court that at a total strength of 84,500 the force was “under staffed”.

In its July 2013 order, the court had asked the government to recruit an additional 14,869 personnel for Delhi Police. This would cost around Rs.450 crore.

In December 2015, the government told the court that it has sanctioned 4,227 posts in Delhi Police exclusively for separating criminal investigation from maintaining law and order.

Senior advocate Chetan Sharma told the court that the department of expenditure of the union finance ministry had said that 4,227 posts would be operationalised in two equal tranches in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

“The 50 per cent of posts in 2017-18 may be operationalised after conducting a quick review of the scheme, which means even sanctioned posts for year 2017-18 have been sanctioned with a rider i.e subject to quick review of scheme. There is no need of quick review,” said an affidavit filed by the Delhi police.

The government had been considering the proposal for the remaining posts – 11,000 approximately – and there was already a high power committee for the purpose, Additional Solicitor General Jain said.

The court expressed its disappointment over the central government not clearing the funds for recruitment of additional policemen despite its repeated order since July 2013.

Amicus curiae Meera Bhatia pointed out that the government had not even installed CCTV cameras in 44 “vulnerable areas” identified by the police and wanted to know why.

Appearing for the Delhi government, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the bench that it was willing to take over and fund crime and investigation while the central government could take care of law and order.

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