Madras High Court expresses concern over the well-being of the police force


Shweta Tambade

The Madras High Court underscored that there is no framework available for the police force to address their grievances.

With increasing suicides and desertions within the police force, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has raised attention to the welfare of police officers in the State.

It observed that the policemen are made to work round the clock without a break.

“For action police is blamed, for inaction police is blamed. Police are like orphans”, the Court had orally observed today.

Justice N Kirubakaran said that the Court is conscious of severe accusations against policemen. It also included the Sathankulam custodial death case.

While speaking on the important roles of police officers and the well-being of the police, Justice Kirabakaran remarked:

“… without police is it possible to live in society for one hour? If traffic police go for an hour, what will happen? Whether we have the discipline to go? Because the police is there, we are able to go. Otherwise, we are not law abiding citizens at all… Unless there is police force, there will not be law and order.”

Policemen do not enjoy privileges like weekly holidays, proper sleep or rest or even to go for their children’s birthdays or social functions, the Judge remarked.

Justice Pugalendhi pointed out that many persons are deserting the police force now, despite knowing the difficulty of getting the job in the first place.

The Judge also referred to the myriad cases, where applicants sought the court’s intervention to join the police force.

The Bench observed, that over 500 desertions have taken place in the police force in recent times, as have the suicides within the force.

It concludes that the uniformed persons are under stress, physically and physiologically, the Court opined.

Given the psychological problems faced by the police, Justice Kirubakaran recollected that he had prior directed the constitution of a commission to inspect the grievances of police officers.

As per his 2013 ruling, the Commission was to be pioneered by a retired High Court Judge and include a psychiatrist, a general physician, a sociologist, an IAS officer, an IPS officer, and an advocate engaged in service law.

The Commission was entrusted with examining the problems faced by the police and suggest measures to resolve the same. It is not known whether this Commission has been formed, the Bench noted today.

Special Government Pleader M Muthugeethayan argued that an SOP to address the wellness of police officers was issued amid the pandemic. Justice Kirubakaran responded that the issue has still not been addressed broadly.

The Court said that the pay scale for policemen also remains low. It would be very difficult for the police to maintain law and order or prevent crimes unless morale is kept up within the police force.

The High Court said, “Pay scale of policemen and primary school teacher was same at one point of time. Now the teachers’ salary got multiplied many times but policeman’s salary remains low.”

The Court has asked the State to respond to various queries touching upon the welfare of police officers and has adjourned the matter for later this month.

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