POST of the police patil, a British-era position in villages that was almost becoming redundant, is being revived by the Pune rural police. The police patils, who were historically revenue collectors and land record holders, are being given legal training in their police duties, as defined by the Maharashtra Village Police Act, 1967.
Many villages under the Maratha rule had a post called Patil or Deshmukh, who used to be local revenue collectors and record holders. This position was changed to police patil during the British Rule, and it was brought under the purview of police.
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However, after Independence, the powers of the police patil were curtailed by the Maharashtra Revenue Patils (Abolition of Office) Act, 1962. Five years later, a law called Village Police Act, 1967 was passed by Maharashtra assembly and since then, the police patils have been recruited by conducting exams held by the revenue department. Superintendent of police Dr Jay Jadhav said, “It was observed that the police patil had become a mere post in the village. They just came to collect their honorarium. We found many were not aware of their basic duties and had no motivation to work. Thus, we took a decision to make efforts to revive the system.” As part of the programme, regular training sessions are being conducted for police patils. Additional Superintendent of Police Rajkumar Shinde said, “We have started giving basic training in their duties as defined by law. They also have some duties of giving information to revenue department regarding mining activities, movements of criminal gangs, unnatural deaths if any, new people coming to stay in villages etc.”
Pune district has 1,386 villages but the number of Police Patils is 550. Inspector IS Patil said, “If they are made to use tools like WhatsApp phone messengers, the information flow can even be made faster.”