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The Supreme Court today refused to entertain the petition filed by a retired IPS Officer challenging salary cuts of police officials amid the COVID-19 lockdown. The plea had also sought payment of risk and hardship allowance to police during this period.
The Court allowed the petitioner to make a representation before the concerned government authorities and therefore withdraw the petition from before the Apex Court.
The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and BR Gavai observed that the petition before the Court was one that could not be entertained under Article 32 jurisdiction, since it pertains to policy matters.
The Court was informed that despite a uniform policy on the issue, many states were deducting salaries of police officials. The Court, however, questioned how this fell under Article 32 jurisdiction and observed that the Centre ought to look into the question.
The petitioner then requested for the petition to be withdrawn and the same was allowed by the Court enabling the petitioner to make representation before the concerned authorities.
The petitioner, who is a decorated IPS officer, had also prayed for a direction to the authorities to identify personnel above 48 years of age having existing medical conditions that may make them more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Such persons should not be deployed on duty where they may come in direct or indirect contact with COVID-19 patients, the plea states.
It was further prayed that the salaries of police personnel not be deducted, and that any order or circular that allows for such deduction be withdrawn. It was highlighted that while some states have paid double salary to police personnel as incentive, there are certain states that had slashed the salaries by 25-35%. This would affect the morale of the police personnel who are already enduring high risk in such times, it was averred.
It was also submitted that to relieve the police from the burden, some ad hoc appointments of persons who are physically fit may also be made, and that all police personnel and their families be provided with basic protective gear.
The petition was drawn by Advocates Rajesh Inamdar, Pai Amit, and Sailesh Mhaske, and settled by Senior Advocate Devadatt Kamat, who also argued before the Court.