‘Orderly system’ unconstitutional: Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu government to eradicate it completely in four months

Madras High Court

   

Madras High Court: S.M. Subramaniam, J. has directed to ensure that the practice of orderly system stands eradicated in entirety in accordance with Government Order, Home (Police-VI) Department, dated 05.09.1979, and the said exercise shall be done within a period of four months.

The Court observed,

“Though these police personnels are working as menials in the residence of the higher police officials, they are to be construed as oppressed and depressed class amongst the homogeneous class of uniformed personnels and the Constitutional Courts as the protector of the Constitution, is expected to raise voice for such voiceless police personnels made to perform household works in the residence of the higher officials.”

The Court was deciding the writ in reference to the unauthorized occupation of the police quarters by the higher police officials; however, some other organized misconducts were also brought to its notice and as there was no possibility of complaint by any police personnel, whose Fundamental Rights are infringed on the hands of the higher police officials of the Police department, the High Court, being a Constitutional Court protected the Fundamental Rights of the citizens of this country.

The Petitioner, a police personnel was allotted a police quarter in Chennai. Even after his transfer his family continued to reside in the official quarters allotted at Chennai. The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police served show cause notice under the Tamil Nadu Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1975, and after that served Form-C dated 07.01.2014 on 21.01.2014, under Rule 8 of the Tamil Nadu Public Premises (Eviction of unauthorized Occupants) Rules, 1978, to the petitioner to vacate the said quarter within 14 days from the date of serving of the notice.

The Court raised a question that, when the higher officials of the Police Department is allowed to commit such serious misconduct and illegality in occupying the police quarters for several years, even after they were transferred to various places, then what is the action taken immediately to vacate the premises, so as to allot the same to the serving Officer of the particular station, and whether the Police Department has taken swift action in such circumstances.

The Court, hence, invoked the residuary relief clause in the writ prayer, due to such structural unconstitutionality, in the Police Department. It was noted that misconduct including unauthorized occupation of police quarters, orderly systems, maintaining dark/black films in the cars in violation of the Supreme Court orders etc., if present, and there is no possibility of registering complaints or filing a writ by any person, least by these police personnel working in the residences of the higher officials, then the Constitutional Courts are duty bound to provide relief in the interest of justice and to remove injustice or unconstitutionality.

The Court observed that

Human dignity is ensured under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and if the dignity is infringed by the powerful higher police officials, then the poor subordinate police personnel became voiceless and their life became misery, as they are forced to perform the household works, which is undoubtedly below the dignity of trained police personnel, who is expected to perform the duty of policing as per law, in the interest of public at large”.

The Court, hence, directed the Respondents to ensure that the practice of orderly system stands eradicated, and ordered them to identify the illegal occupation of official police quarters and initiate all steps for eviction under the provisions of the Statute and the Rules in force. The Court further directed Respondents 1 and 4 to immediately withdraw the orderlies, if deputed to the residence of the retired officials, as the same would amount to illegality and violation of law. Moreover, the Court ordered Respondents 1 or 4 to conduct an enquiry, in the event of receiving any complaint or information as regard to the misconducts or offences from any person and initiate all appropriate actions under the relevant law and under the Discipline and Appeal Rules.

[U.Manickavel v. State of Tamil Nadu and Ors., Writ Petition.No.2627 of 2014, decided on 23-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

M.Deivanandam, Advocate, Counsel for the Petitioner;

Additional Advocate General P.Kumaresan and Government Pleader S.Anitha,Special Government Pleader, Advocates, Counsel for the Respondent.

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