Andhra government withdraws controversial order on women police

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The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday conveyed to High Court that it was withdrawing an order designating Grama Mahila Samrakshana Karyadarsis or women protection secretaries as ‘Mahila Police’.

During the hearing of a petition challenging the order, the government informed the court it is taking back the same.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice A.V. Sesha Sai was informed that the government is working details as to how to use the services of the women. The court was told that an affidavit would be filed in this regard.

Following this, the court adjourned the hearing to the next week.

In October, the court had directed the government to file a counter, explaining that on what grounds it proposed to designate ward and village women protection secretaries as mahila police and entrust them certain responsibilities supposed to be discharged by the Police Department.

The court had issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Principal Secretary, Home, and Chairpersons of the Andhra Pradesh Police Service Commission (APPSC).

A. Umamaheswara Rao of Visakhapatnam had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the order on the ground that it violates police recruitment board rules.

In June, the state government elevated the women protection secretaries to Mahila police constables.

Close to 15,000 women were appointed by the District Collectors in the village and ward secretariats that were created by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in July 2019.

Under the plan, the grama mahila samrakshana karyadarsis/ward mahila samrakshana karyadarsi were given 15 responsibilities such as reporting crime and law and order issues to local police SHO, sensitising women on crimes, domestic violence, cybercrime, stress management, gender-based violence, safeguarding public properties and others.

So far, the GMSK/WMSKs used to work assisting the police in solving women-related problems in both urban areas and villages.

The redesignation exercise had placed the women protection secretaries on par with the women constables of the state police force.

The order had stated that the mahila police constables will be the representatives of the nearest police station and be given the same uniform as woman constables. They will enjoy the same powers and responsibilities as constables. As per the order, additional head constable posts will also be created for the mahila police.

20211209-193841

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