A retired policeman moved the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday seeking a direction to the State government to increase the strength of the police force, fill vacancies and pay better salaries to the men in uniform.
In his Public Interest Litigation petition, A. Masilamani from Karur, who has served in the force for 35 years, complained that though he had the satisfaction of having served the people, it was marred by agony and stress due to health, emotional and financial issues.
He said there was no association in the police force like government teachers’, engineers’ or doctors’ associations that raised voice for their welfare. He further complained that there were a number of vacancies in the posts of Sub-Inspectors and Constables, and added that the police force was poorly paid. For the amount of work extracted from them, police personnel in Tamil Nadu received the lowest salary in south India, he said.
A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi took cognisance of the submission and put forth a series of queries to the State, covering various aspects, including the salaries of police personnel. The court also sought to know the problems that the police personnel were facing as a result of a rigorous work schedule, the mechanism adopted to address their grievances and their time-bound promotions.
Further, the court asked the State to respond to queries on the benefits, insurance cover and holiday provided to police personnel, and if they could avail themselves of leave to attend important functions and events.
The data on the number of policemen who killed themselves due to stress-related issues, those facing departmental proceedings and the number of vacancies were also sought by the court, which adjourned the case till December 17.