In a scathing comment on the police brass, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has observed with 'concern' and 'dismay', that the people of the state were 'not very safe with the police'.
The BHRC made the observation in response to the director-general of police, Abhayanand's response to the commission, sought in a case of misconduct involving a sub-inspector (S-I), then posted as station house officer of Chauri police station in Bhojpur district.
As many as nine departmental proceedings had been initiated against the S-I concerned, Subodh Kumar Singh, of which, he was awarded punishment in seven. The commission had sought the response of the DGP whether it would be in public interest to retain such an officer in police service in view of his service record.
In his response to the commission, the DGP raised doubts over the jurisdiction of the state human rights commission.
He said, "The issue of retaining a government servant in public interest on account of orders of punishment passed in different departmental proceedings may not fall within the purview and jurisdiction of the SHRC in terms of the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act."
After a few 'general remarks' on the point of passing orders of compulsory retirement, the DGP further said, "Police officials work under several constraints and in difficult situations, which many times are life threatening. In course of performing their duties, they are at times faced with vindictive and malafide action at the hands of those who are aggrieved by their action. At times, even false cases and complaints are lodged against them."
Clarifying his stand, SHRC chairperson, Justice (retd) SN Jha said, "The objection to the jurisdiction of the SHRC overlooks the provisions of section 18(a)(ii) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, which empowers the human rights commission to recommend to the government 'to initiate proceedings for prosecution or such other suitable action as the commission may deem fit' against the person concerned."
He further said, "The query was made into the facts of the case and considering, that the officer (SI) was punished in all seven (out of nine) departmental proceedings, it cannot be said that the complaints were false. After all, punishments were awarded by the police officers themselves."
"The commission expected, that the DGP would get the matter examined at his level and make suitable intervention, but what is conveyed to the commission is a general denial as if all is well with the police organisation and no action is required to be taken against erring police officials because they work in difficult situations… If this is what the state head of the police organisation believes, the commission would observe with concern and dismay, the people of the state are not very safe with the police," concluded Justice Jha.