New Delhi: The unprecedented protest by Delhi Police personnel to seek “justice” after assaults on their colleagues by lawyers in the capital might have ended, but it managed to kindle a debate within the top echelons of the police service.
Various WhatsApp groups populated by IPS officers are abuzz with debates about the politicisation of the service, lack of proper leadership and usurpation of powers of the police, etc.
Some officers have also questioned the manner in which the higher judiciary has handled the issue of violence by lawyers and subsequent action by the police in the Tis Hazari district court Saturday.
Also read: Years of resentment sparked Delhi Police’s unprecedented protest, lawyer attacks a catalyst
IPS a divided house
The discussion started after the Central IPS Association passed a resolution on 5 November, which, among other things, sought identification of “all lawyers who were part of the violence”, so that “befitting legal action, including cancellation of their licences”, could be initiated.
The resolution also demanded that “courts should treat all parties equitably and grant justice”.
Many officers wondered why the IPS Association was seeking something that the police should have taken care of itself.
“The service is divided. While most officers agree that senior IPS officers have been acting on the whims and fancies of the political masters to get better posts or stick on to the posts already being occupied by them, there are many who have been wondering what, if anything, can the IPS officers do in such situations,” a senior IPS officer told ThePrint.
“After all, any strong-arm tactic will become an issue to be cited as an instance of police brutality, and the same politicians will use it to weaken them further. But, there is unanimity that some corrective actions will have to be taken to restore the prestige of the force.”
Also read: Not poor work conditions, not lawyers’ assault, something else hurt Delhi Police more
‘Serious introspection needed’
Various IPS officers’ posts on WhatsApp groups, accessed by ThePrint, show that the service thinks it needs serious introspection — about its lost prestige as well as the rot in the system.
The Delhi Police’s leadership (or lack thereof) was questioned during Tuesday’s protest, and when commissioner Amulya Patnaik was booed while trying to speak to the personnel, many IPS officers on one particular WhatsApp group tried to support the senior officers in Delhi.
One senior officer suggested that the IPS officers accept the current state of affairs as fait accompli (something that has already happened or been done and cannot be changed), and also that the Delhi Police brass could perhaps do no better.
Officers also raised questions about the judiciary’s apparent soft corner for the lawyers, as well as the frustration ordinary police personnel feel over the Delhi High Court’s “one-sided order” suspending the personnel involved in the Tis Hazari violence Monday.
They said the order amounted to pre-judging the issue without affording an opportunity to the police personnel to be heard. There was also a demand that the police should appeal the high court order and ensure that justice is done to the personnel too.
Another officer wondered if “trade unionism” should have any place in the police force, a comment that also found some support.
Also read: If we are abused or beaten up, should we remain quiet — protesting Delhi policemen ask
The IPS cadre is to be blamed for what happened in Delhi. For too long the seniors have towed the line of politicians and hence lost their prestige plus indirectly lost connect with their men. Connect with men is most important since they produce results which bring glory to seniors. So re-establish this connect on priority or else you stand to loose a lot as a cadre.Policing in India is one of the most difficult jobs a view which I wholeheartedly subscribe to but look at your men- they literally hate you. So wake up.
Checks and balances on paper may be there, but on ground they are generally respected in violation.
Recall Justice Chandrachud’s remark about dissent being the safety valve of democracy, which prevents the pressure cooker from blowing up. Seeing the immense gathering of Delhi Police personnel and their families, the thought struck me that all this lava must have been accumulating for a long time beneath the volcanic cone. Associations of officers turning quiescent. Much better to allow the instruction and safeguards of democracy – even to a limited extent in a uniformed service – to have full play. What looks like strength can sometimes be brittle, ossified, calcified, prone to fracture.
… institutions and safeguards …
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