New Delhi: The legality of the IPS Association has again come into question with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) now saying it never recognised or approved its formation.
In a case heard by the Central Information Commission (CIC) on whether the association has government sanction, the MHA also said the police force does not have the right to form any association without the permission of the central government.
“As per Section 3 of The Police Forces (Restrictions of Rights) Act, 1966, no member of police force has a right to form any association without the express sanction of the Central Government,” the MHA said, according to the CIC order.
“The respondent (MHA) further submitted that the MHA has not recognised or approved any Police Force Association thus, no information in this regard is available with the respondent authority,” added the CIC order in response to an RTI filed in 2018.
The RTI was filed by one Nutan Thakur, who sought to know whether the home ministry has any information or documents regarding the existence of the IPS Association and whether it is recognised by the government.
Given the submissions by the home ministry, the CIC concluded: “Since the MHA has not approved the constitution of a Police Force Association, the information sought for by the appellant is not available with the respondent.”
The CIC further directed the home ministry to file an affidavit before it, deposing that the ministry has not approved the constitution of a police association.
‘IPS Association doesn’t act like a trade union’
This is not the first time that questions were raised over the legality of the IPS Association.
In 2013, Amitabh Thakur, an IPS officer, had claimed that the association was an illegal body, and even tried to register a case against the office-bearers of the association.
Thakur made this claim under the same Police Forces Act, which has been cited by home ministry.
According to the Act, “No member of a police force shall, without the express sanction of the Central Government or of the prescribed authority, be a member of, or be associated in any way with, any trade union, labour union, political association or with any class of trade unions, labour unions or political associations…”
The Act further says: “If any question arises as to whether any society, institution, association or organisation is of a purely social, recreational or religious nature, the decision of the Central Government thereon shall be final.”
The IPS Association’s legality is, however, not under scanner because it does not “unionise,” said an IPS officer who didn’t want to be named.
“The IPS Association does not act like a trade union…There have been so many cases involving IPS officers, but the association has never taken sides,” the officer said.
“It merely acts like a common platform of sorts, and that is not barred…If it was illegal, it would not have existed for so many decades.”