The Madras High Court on Friday chastised higher-level police officials in Tamil Nadu for deploying their colleagues as “orderlies” at their homes to conduct menial tasks, calling it a continuation of the “colonial slavery system”.
Justice S M Subramaniyam warned that the court would be forced to act if strict actions aren’t taken to put an end to this practice.
Reminding that “no public servant can imagine or live in a world of Mughal emperors and all such authorities under the Constitution are “public servants” and they are bound to serve the public in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution and as per the statutes and rules enacted by Parliament and State Legislature”, the court order said: “It is needless to state that indisciplined higher police officials lose their morale in enforcing discipline in uniformed forces, more so, against their subordinate officials.”
Earlier, the state government made a submission that they issued orders to police officials to follow the government orders as well as interim orders passed by the HC against the usage of police personnel for household works and later informed that 19 police personnel were withdrawn (from menial jobs at seniors’ houses) and put on regular departmental duties.
Stating that the court is “aware of the fact that large number of uniformed police personnel are still performing household and menial works in the residences of the higher police officials”, the judge said the instructions issued by the government in June 2022 to stop orderly system “has not been followed scrupulously by the Police Department”. The judge added that the DGP, “except for issuing memorandum, has not ensured that the uniformed police personnel are withdrawn from the residences of the police officials”.
“Mere communication and inter-departmental communications are insufficient. Implementation of the orders of the government is of paramount importance. Once the government issued an order, it is needless to state that the police have to follow it scrupulously, failing which, they are liable to be prosecuted under the Service Rules. The effective administrative control of the government departments is the Constitutional mandate,” the court said.
Coming down heavily on the police force and the government, the order said: “It is painful to pen down that the colonial slavery system of extracting household and menial works in the residences of the higher police officials are still prevailing in the State of Tamil Nadu when the country is celebrating 75th year of Independence and it is a slap on the Constitution and the democracy when higher police officials in the state of are following the colonial slavery system of extracting household and menial works from the trained uniformed police personnel.”
“It is an issue to be considered seriously. Such uniformed trained police personnel are performing the household and menial jobs at the cost of the taxpayers’ funds. Public has a right to question the mindset of the higher officials,” the order said, asking the government to file a status report on the action taken before August 18.