Hauled up by the Bombay high court over a circular issued in November 2010 directing the police not to record instructions by politicians, the state government has decided to recall the controversial notification.
“We will issue another circular saying statements, including those of politicians and members of the legislature, should be recorded,” said a senior home department official.
The law states that all calls made to police stations by members of the legislative assembly and ministers be recorded in the police diary. But, the department wanted to skip this rule.
The circular was issued after a case was registered by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar against the government for allowing former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s office to misuse powers and make a phone call in 2006 to a police station in Buldhana asking the police to not register a case against a money lender’s politician son.
The Supreme Court pulled up Deshmukh for interfering in police investigations after taking serious note of the diary entry made by the investigating officer. The court observed that the manner in which the constitutional functionaries behaved was ‘shocking’.
The circular, issued by the office of special inspector general Gulabrao Pol, mentioned instances when officers had written down details of their telephonic communication with ‘MLAs’ and produced them in court. The circular stated that no such communication should be mentioned in station diaries henceforth.
A senior IPS officer, on condition of anonymity, had brushed aside concerns, saying investigations would not be affected.
“It is a police officer’s prerogative to note down facts encountered during investigation, and that will continue,” he said.
Understandably, the circular did not go down well with officers who handle investigations. The diary entry was crucial evidence in case of future problems that could arise due to interference by superiors or politicians.
A few months ago, a state minister in the previous Congress government called the Amboli police several times asking them to investigate a robbery in which Rs 50 lakh had gone missing.
He specifically did not want the offence registered. The officers, however, refused to obey the order and made diary entries of all calls.