Are policemen forgetting their manners? While the man on the street looking at the local station house may have his own views on the subject — depending on the number of times he has been inside or the Bollywood movies he has watched — the honourable MPs and MLAs are complaining loudly about the civility crisis there.
A letter from the Home Ministry to the Delhi government quotes Parliament’s Committee of Privileges lamenting “the declining adherence by police officers to the basic courtesies they are required to extend to legislators” and asks state police to pull their socks up and behave when a VIP arrives.
To become a polite police officer, 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, not “ignore telephonic 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, they should be regarding the common man and not themselves.”
Agrees lawyer Pinki Anand. She says instead of making the force citizen-friendly, too much attention is being paid to VIP treatment.
Police spokesman Deependra Pathak says, “It is required since in a democracy MPs are people’s representatives.” So what about the people? He says, “Proper attention also has to be paid to the common man.” That man looking at the station house will salute that sentiment.