The ministry of home affairs and city police on Monday told the Delhi high court that “inconvenience” caused to a judge, whose calls to its emergency helpline number ‘100’ went unanswered, was “inadvertent” and due to reasons beyond their control, including congestion in the systems of telephone service providers.
Justice Vipin Sanghi called the helpline number when he was stuck in a traffic jam on April 29 this year but his calls went unanswered. Sanghi then wrote to the commissioner of police about the “poor” response of the helpline service.
The letter was converted into a PIL in May after Chief Justice G Rohini took suo motu cognisance of the issue.
The present police assistance ‘100’ system in Central Police Control Room (CPCR) of Delhi Police was installed in 2008 and it attends about 24,000 calls on a daily basis.
“The inconvenience caused to Justice Vipin Sanghi was inadvertent and due to reasons beyond their control and it is assured that all sincere steps are being taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur in future,” the MHA told a bench of Chief Justice Rohini and justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal in an affidavit.
The ministry said “the matter regarding priority routing of emergency calls has been taken up with authorities concerned” to tackle the problem of calls queuing up at the telecom service provider (TSP).
Delhi Police said that there was a heavy rush of calls due to which the call made by the judge could not be attended.
“Heavy traffic on TSP leads to congestion in their system as a result of which few calls do not reach Delhi police exchange in CPCR and get abandoned,” Delhi Police said in its affidavit.
It clarified that this creates an impression to the caller that their call has not been attended by the police assistance call taker, whereas actually the call never reaches CPCR. It also said that during peak hours, calls are put on hold and they remain in queue till they are attended or disconnected by the caller themselves.
The ministry said that since the system is old, preventive maintenance cycle of the technical infrastructure has been made more stringent and frequent. It also said feedback staff has been deputed around the clock in CPCR to make calls to the telephone number from which calls made to CPCR are found to be abandoned.
It added that priority proposal for creating 663 additional posts for the functioning of various control rooms in Delhi Police has already been taken up.
The bench has now fixed the matter for hearing on August 29.