Are taxpayers in Delhi getting safety in return? HC asks Centre

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 20, 2016 17:11 IST
Soldiers of a police force on alert at Rajpath after Pathankot terrorist attack, in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

People in Delhi are paying taxes but “are they getting safety in return” was a question put to the Centre and police by the Delhi high court which also asked on Wednesday why the Union government has a “step-motherly” attitude towards the national capital.

“You (the Centre) are taxing people for the money, it is not coming out of your pockets. Everyone is paying... but are they getting safety in return?” the court said and added, “Don’t know why the Centre is not interested in better policing in Delhi. Why this step-motherly attitude?”

The posers came from a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva after Delhi Police told the court that its initial requirement was 64,000 personnel, but the Centre forced them to cut it down due to which it has now “dwindled” to around 14,000.

The court too observed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had okayed the proposal for around 14,000 additional cops, but the Ministry of Finance (MoF) has “stonewalled” it and asked the Centre if the problem was “lack of funds”.

“If MHA has okayed it, it is for MoF to find the money,” it said, while terming as “unacceptable” the finance ministry’s view on whether additional manpower was necessary and if advancement in technology would suffice.

It also asked what was the required ‘people to police ratio’ and said it wants proper answers and exact figures on January 27, the next date of hearing.

Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra contended that the problem was “lack of intent” and not money, adding that cost should not be a factor where life and liberty was concerned.

He said that the Centre does not want to spend around Rs 450 crore on setting up CCTVs, and won’t let the Delhi government set up the cameras at Rs 20 crore.

“If they (the Centre) can’t administer Delhi Police or doesn’t have the intent, then they should let go of control. Break the shackles. We are committed and duty bound to do it,” Mehra said.

During the hearing, the bench observed that it had initiated the process to increase manpower of Delhi Police three years ago. “However, the Centre’s attitude has been quite dismal. It does not matter whether it was this government or the previous one,” it said.

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