The Delhi Police on Monday rubbished a study conducted by RML Hospital before the Delhi High Court which said that 91% of its personnel were fatigued due to erratic working hours saying that “physical fatigue” is “helpful in building stamina”.
A majority of Delhi Police personnel don’t have fixed working hours and they are deemed to be always on duty as per provisions under the Police Act 1861 and the Delhi Police Act 1978.
In its affidavit, the Delhi Police denied claims by constable Babu Lal Mitharwal that long duty hours on the basis of the provisions have a “deleterious impact on the physical and mental health of the police personnel”.
The affidavit said that the two provisions help “relieve a police officer from burden to prove that he was on duty at a particular time”.
However, the Delhi Police refused to accept the survey before the court saying that, “the authenticity of the conclusion, drawn on the basis of General Health Questionnaire, is hardly reliable”.
“Regarding the study conducted by Dr RML Hospital, it may be mentioned that physical fatigue is not an illness but it also proves helpful in building of physical stamina,” it said.
The Delhi Police’s latest submission contradicts its stand three years back when the then commissioner of police wrote to the chairman of Seventh Pay Commission saying, “Long and irregular hours of duty involving physical strain render a policeman vulnerable to stress and malnutrition-related disease like TB, hypertension, heart ailments etc.”
“This only shows that the hard and long hours of duty have a telling effect on the health of police personnel,” the CP had said in the letter, which was sourced through the Right to Information Act.
A 2012-13 government sponsored study titled, “Research Study of Fatigue in Police Personnel: Cause and Remedies”, conducted by the RML Hospital said that “a majority of police personnel felt fatigue (91.79%)”.
“As erratic duty hours and extended shift duties were found to be the most common causes of fatigue, eight hours shift for police personnel will be instrumental in decreasing the fatigue among them,” the report had said.
Advocate Gyanant Kumar Singh, appearing for Mitharwal, sought quashing of the two provisions and fixing set duty hours and proper break to maintain efficient and good physical and mental health.
The Delhi Police further said that it has sent a proposal for additional personnel to the home ministry and as and when more the proposal is sanctioned, “the duty hours of policemen in Delhi will be duly streamlined and improved upon”.