January,21,2016: The Centre drew Delhi High Court ire Wednesday over delay in clearing proposals for recruitment of more police personnel in the capital and installation of CCTV cameras. The court observed that the present NDA government as well as the previous UPA one had been “disappointing” in their attitude towards women’s safety.
A bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva observed that the central government had not cleared funds for recruitment of additional policemen despite its orders since July 2013.
The comments were made during a hearing on two PILs initiated after the December 16, 2012, Gangrape case on the issue of safety and security of women in the city. Reiterating its orders, the bench said it was “not pleased” with the central government’s approach.
The bench also asked the Delhi Police to “aggressively pursue the matter” and “tell the central government” that it needed more personnel. It also questioned why the finance ministry was not clearing the proposals for additional police posts even though the matter had been cleared by the home ministry.
“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,” observed the bench.
The finance ministry had said the proposal for an additional 14,000 police posts would cost over Rs 450 crore per year. “A big mall costs much more… 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 around here even after 7 pm?” asked the court.
The observations were made after perusing an affidavit filed by the finance ministry, which stated that 4,227 additional posts for Delhi Police had been sanctioned, out of which 50 per cent would become operational in 2016-17 financial year and the remaining in the year after. The ministry also stated it had “suggested” the home ministry “review” the demand for more personnel as it would be “more appropriate to use advancement in technology rather than increasing the manpower”.
Amicus curiae, advocate Meera Bhatia, however, pointed out the Centre had “not even agreed” to finance the CCTVs.
“Robots can’t run Delhi. They don’t come for free, they will cost you money. Here human life is free,” the bench remarked.