With a 74-year-old victim of theft getting a taste of police’s bad etiquettes, the Delhi High Court has directed the Police Commissioner to look into the matter and return a report stating the protocol in place for sensitising police personnel to deal with senior citizens.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher was hearing the experience of 75-year-old Ganga Ram who was abused and threatened by cops inside Sabzi Mandi police station in January when all he wanted was to lodge a complaint about theft of his car’s battery.
Ganga Ram moved high court through advocate Mukul Kumar after his representations made to senior cops about his unpleasant experience fell on deaf ears.
“…the respondent no.1/Commissioner of Police is directed to look into the matter, whereupon a report will be filed in this Court with regard to the assertions made in the petition. Let the needful be done within four weeks…,” Justice Shakdher ordered.
“While carrying out the inquiry, the concerned officer will examine the CCTV footage of the subject police station and if any departmental action is to be taken, the same will be initiated and adverted to in the report which is required to be filed with this Court.
“Furthermore, the report will also indicate the protocol, if any, which is in place for sensitising police personnel, especially, the personnel belonging to the rank of constable, head constable, ASI and SHO,” said the judge.
The matter is now listed for April 22.
Narrating the petitioner’s experience, advocate Mukul Kumar told the court that, in the morning of January 17, the petitioner found that his car was not starting because its battery had been stolen.
He went to Sabzi Mandi police station with a written complaint where he was told by ASI named Har Swarup to register the complaint online.
The petitioner claimed that Har Swarup was very rude in his manners and when the petitioner told him that he does not know how to register an online complaint, he was told to wait as the lady who registers complaints was on a lunch break.
After waiting for about half-an-hour, the petitioner once again went to the counter which was now manned by Head Constable Nagendra Kumar. Kumar inquired about his grievance and read his complaint. He then told the petitioner to wait for some more time and said, “Tu Baith Ja”.
The petitioner said that being a senior citizen, he found the words used by Kumar offensive and asked him to speak properly.
The petitioner was then asked to re-write his complaint and directed not to mention his age on the complaint. Due to continued rude behaviour of HC Kumar and ASI Har Swarup, the petitioner decided to meet the SHO Sabzi Mandi police station with his complaint.
At this, HC Kumar used abusive and derogatory words, which the petitioner said cannot be reproduced in the petition. ASI Har Swarup held him by his collar and told him that he cannot meet the SHO and will have to wait for half an hour after which they will visit the site of the theft with him.
When the petitioner told them that he has been waiting for almost two hours now and had to visit the doctor about a heart surgery, HC Kumar threatened him that he would write on his complaint that the complainant was not cooperating and his complaint would be cancelled.
Feeling uneasy due to such hostile attitude of the police personnel, the petitioner decided to leave for home. Later in the evening, he received an SMS with details of the FIR registered on his complaint.
However, there has been no progress in the matter.
On February 15, the petitioner sent a representation to Deputy Superintendent of Police (North) narrating his experience at Sabzi Mandi police station and demanding action against the ASI and HC in question but is yet to receive any response.
In his petition, Ganga Ram said, “On the one hand the Government has enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, however, the insensitive attitude of the officers towards the Senior Citizens strikes at the core of the Act of 2007”.
He said Section 21 of the Act talks of State Government taking all measures to ensure that “The Central Government and State Government Officers, including the police officers and the members of the judicial service, are given periodic sensitization and awareness training on the issues relating to this Act”.
“It is obvious from the conduct of the police personnel against the Petitioner herein that ‘periodic sensitization and awareness training’ has been restricted to the statute book and not implemented in letter and spirit,” said the petition.