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SC asks states to give details of vacancies in police services

Supreme Court of India building

New Delhi : Concerned over reports that about five lakh vacancies exist in the police forces across the country, the Supreme Court today directed the Home Secretaries of all states to provide details of vacant positions at all levels in four weeks.

Terming the issue as “important”, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar made it clear that if any state does not file such affidavit giving details, the apex court would summon the Home Secretaries concerned.

“In view of the importance of the issue, we require Home Secretaries of all the state governments to file affidavits in this court depicting the vacancy position,” the bench said.

“In order to ensure compliance of the order, we hereby direct respondent number one (Centre) to communicate the instant order to all the Home Secretaries of state governments within one week,” it said, while noting that figures of January 2015 given to it indicated that there were around 4.73 lakh vacancies.

“Such state governments, who would fail to file affidavit sought in the order, we will ensure the presence of the Home Secretary himself along with all necessary records to assist this court in disposal of the instant matter,” the bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said.

The apex court observed that currently, the workload on the police was heavy but there was less staff to deal with it.

“As soon as the vacancy are filled, work will be done. Now, the workload is so much but number of staff are so less,” the bench said.

When one of the advocates sought more time for the Home Secretaries to furnish details in the court, the bench said, “they have enough time to file the affidavit”.

The bench noted in its order that despite issuance of notices earlier, most of the state governments have not filed the response giving details of the vacancies.

The court was     hearing a petition filed by advocate Manish Kumar who has highlighted the number of vacancies in police services across the country and has said that due to this, the law and order situation has deteriorated.

Referring to a 2015 report, he has claimed that there was a total of around 5.42 lakh vacancies in the police services.

In his plea, he has sought a direction to the states and union territories to “fill up the vacant posts in the police and state armed forces so that the police forces do not remain overburdened”.

During the hearing, the petitioner told the bench that around 24 per cent of the sanctioned posts for police services at all levels were lying vacant in the country.

The counsel appearing for Chhattisgarh told the court that they had filed an affidavit earlier in the matter.

After perusing the affidavit, the bench noted in its order that it has been acknowledged by the state government that there were vacancies in police services there.

In the plea, the petitioner has sought a direction for constitution of Police Commission to deal with allegations of police action, redressal of grievances of police and to make recommendations for welfare of the force.

It has also sought directions for providing periodic training and upgradation of police force and also fix their working hours.

Besides this, the plea has sought directions for formulation and implementation of “guidelines for prevention and control of violent mass agitations and destruction of life and property” in terms of the guidelines suggested by the apex court in its earlier judgement.

The plea said the Centre should be directed to “prescribe guidelines for media reporting of the violent mass agitation and police action for prevention and control thereof”.

It also sought that the states should be restrained from “drawing a presumption against the action of police acting under the constitutional and statutory obligations”.

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