Relook circular on working hours of SHOs: HC to police commissioner

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked the Delhi Police commissioner to reconsider its circular relating to the inhuman working conditions of station house officers (SHO) here.

A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath asked the police chief to reconsider the circular on humanitarian grounds, as per which SHOs are not allowed to go home at all.

The court, asking the counsel to seek instruction from the department, said: “Have a relook into your circular. Have some human approach towards the officers.” The court posted the matter for July 31.

The court was hearing a plea seeking withdrawal of police circulars relating to inhuman working conditions of SHOs, according to which they have to work 24 hours without any leave.

The police commissioner also filed his reply before the court, which said that “the job of the police officer is of urgent and emergent nature and directly relates to public service, so the police be allowed to continue with this practice for better public service”.

“This circular was issued to make the area policing effective, to instill confidence among citizens at large and make them feel responsible for whatever happened in their jurisdiction,” the reply filed by G.S. Awana, additional deputy commissioner of police on behalf of the police commissioner, said.

The affidavit further said that every SHO has to lead from the front and should set an example of commitment and dedication by remaining present to take charge of any emergency that may arise in his area.

The petition, filed by advocate A.K. Biswas, had said that as per the circulars, SHOs are not allowed to go home at all and “if they do have to go home for some reason, they can go to their residence once a week at night but only if their seniors permit it”.

“An SHO is supposed to be responsible for all actions of his/her subordinates in his police station. In case a SHO goes home every day, his control over continuously emerging issues in the area would get weakened”.

“Their absence may lead to dilution in handling of the cases and may also lead to situation going out of hand,” it added.

The PIL had sought better working conditions for police officers. It said: “Because of peculiar responsibilities of SHOs towards people and society at large in their areas, their health and working conditions are major concerns.”

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