HC's no to withdrawal of circular on working hours of SHOs

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) The Delhi High Court (HC) Wednesday refused to direct the city police to withdraw its circular relating to the "inhuman working conditions" of station house officers (SHO) here.

A division bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Manmohan said that the court "cannot interfere in the administrative order" and affected police official can approach the government.

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

The bench, dismissing the plea, said that judges also work after court hours and police officials have to perform their duty to maintain law and order in the city.

It added that "working longer hours is an old practice in the police, and it is not something new which they (police commissioner) are doing. Problem is they start delegating duties".

"How can we decide how many hours they (police officials) can work? It is for the department to look after. Let the affected police officials file representation to the government. We cannot interfere in administration order," the court said.

The petition, filed by advocate A.K. Biswas, said that as per the circular, 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".

Earlier, the city police commissioner filed his reply before the court, saying "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," said the reply filed by G.S. Awana, additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police on behalf of the police commissioner.

The PIL had sought better working conditions for police officers because of the peculiar responsibilities of SHOs towards people and society and said that their health and working conditions are major concerns.

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