ARE POLICEMEN forgetting their manners? While the man on the street looking at a local police station may have his own views on the subject — depending on the number of times he has been inside — the honourable MPs and MLAs are complaining loudly about the civility crisis there.
A letter from the Home Ministry to the Delhi government quotes the Committee of Privileges lamenting “the declining adherence by police officers to the basic courtesies they are required to extend to legislators” and asks the state police to pull up their socks and behave when a VIP arrives.
To become a polite police officer, they have to follow the 10 commandments issued in 2000 by the Department of Personnel and Training. Accordingly, police officers will have to “rise to receive and see off” MPs and MLAs, “show courtesy and consideration to them”, “listen patiently”, and “invariably” invite them “to a public function organised by a government office” and provide “proper and comfortable seating arrangements”. And last but not the least, they must not “ignore telephone messages”.
That is pretty basic. But why should police reserve etiquette for parliamentarians, wonders lawyer Kamini Jaiswal. “Everyone should be treated equally. Why should extra respect be given to MPs?” she asks.
“If they want guidelines, it should be regarding the common man and not themselves.” Lawyer Pinki Anand agrees. She says instead of making the force citizen-friendly, too much consideration is being paid to VIP treatment. Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak says: “It is required since in a democracy, MPs are people’s representatives”. So what about the people? He adds: “Proper attention also has to be paid to the common man.”