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Delhi Police should not work under Centre’s dictate: HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked Delhi Police not to work under the “dictate of the Centre” and also slammed the central government for not clearing funds to create additional posts in the force.

Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva questioned the union finance ministry’s expenditure department for not clearing funds meant for recruitment of additional police personnel in Delhi despite clearance from the home ministry.

It asked Delhi Police to “aggressively” tell the central government that it needed more policemen. Delhi Police is controlled by the home ministry in the central government.

“Delhi Police should not work under the dictate of Centre. Work independently. It is a very important issue. Delhi Police has to be more aggressive about it,” said the bench.

“When the ministry of home affairs cleared the proposal, how can the ministry of expenditure stop it? It should look for the money to make the proposal work.

“A big (shopping) mall costs much more than this… It (money) is not coming from officers sitting in expenditure department. We all are paying for it. Are we getting safety in return?

“Can women in Delhi move move around here even after 7 p.m.?” asked the court, saying petty crimes lead to big crimes.

In its July 2013 order, the court had asked the central government to recruit an additional 14,000 personnel for Delhi Police. This would cost around Rs.450 crore.

In December 2015, the central government told the court that it has sanctioned 4,227 posts in Delhi Police exclusively for separating criminal investigation from maintaining law and order.

In its affidavit filed on Wednesday, the department of expenditure said it had agreed to create 4,227 posts and these posts may be operationalised in two phases, half in 2016-17 and the rest in 2017-18.

The affidavit said the home ministry had been requested to frame a composite proposal taking in view present and future requirements of Delhi Police so that a holistic view may be taken by the finance ministry.

The court was not pleased with the central government’s approach on considering advancement of technology rather than increasing the manpower. “Robots can’t run Delhi. They don’t come for free, they will cost you money. Here human life is free,” the bench remarked.

Amicus curiae Meera Bhatia pointed out that the government had not even installed CCTV cameras in 44 “vulnerable areas” identified by the police, and wanted to know why.

Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the bench that “human resources has to go hand in hand with advance technology”.

The court was disappointed that the central government had not cleared the funds for recruitment of additional policemen despite its repeated order since July 2013.

“(The) centre’s attitude has been quite disappointing, whether it is this government or earlier government,” it said.

The court was hearing a PIL seeking measures for women’s safety in the national capital and to increase the police force.