24 percent of the sanctioned strength of forces vacant across the country
Police forces across the country, especially in six states, are grossly understaffed. A PIL to the Supreme Court on April 17 said that a huge 24 percent of the sanctioned police force remains vacant.
The bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the petitioners’ counsels as well as the respondents’ counsels.
The counsel for one of the respondents, the Ministry of Law and Justice, submitted that it has no role in this.
At that the petitioner claimed that a few states are yet to file status reports.
The bench queried about the plan from the different counsels. It asked the counsel for Jharkhand: “The vacancies are more than 26,000. How will you fill that up?”
To the Karnataka counsel, the bench asked: “Your vacancies total 24,399. How do you plan to fill that up?” To which the counsel said the process is on. The bench was not willing to take this at face value. It said: “Your process is on since 2013. Nothing has happened.”
Tamil Nadu has vacancies totalling 19,803. Its counsel said advertisements had been given to fill up the vacancy. The chief justice said: “That is only the first step.”
The biggest laggard in this is Uttar Pradesh, with vacancies totalling 1,55,000.
Hearing the submissions, the bench said: “We are of the view that Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and UP are the states to be dealt with first. We will deal with other states later. At present, we will deal with these six states where vacancies are the largest.
“We direct home secretaries to assist this court personally or nominate an officer not below the rank of joint secretary with a clear roadmap. Be present on Friday, April 21, 2017,” the court ordered.
—By India Legal Bureau