RANCHI : The fate of nearly 3,400 special police officers (SPO) engaged by police on directive of the Union home ministry to extend cooperation to the security forces in their anti-Naxalite operations is now hanging in balance after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court passed in context of the PIL filed by Nalini Sundaram in connection with tribals being armed in Chhattisgarh.
Responding to the judgment, DGP G S Rath said that the SPOs were appointed on direction of the Union home department and any decision regarding their withdrawal or specification of responsibility would be carried out only after receiving directives from the Centre.
Talking to TOI, Rath said that though the judgment was passed keeping under consideration the situation prevailing in Chhattisgarh and it hardly applies to SPOs in Jharkhand but the police were ready to act in accordance with directive of the Union home department. “Role of SPOs in Jharkhand is limited to providing intelligence inputs to the policemen and thereby extending indirect help in countering Maoist operations whereas the judgment has restricted innocent tribals being armed or pushed into conflict,” he clarified.
Asked if the state government had any plans to appoint them on regular basis instead of removing the SPOs permanently, Rath said that they were assigned specific duty under Section 17 of the Police Act under which there is no provision for regularization of service.
“We are using them as per the police act after paying them an honourarium of Rs 3,000 per month which under no circumstances could be construed as salary,” Rath said. He acknowledged the role of the SPOs in large number of anti-Naxalite operations carried out in the state by joint security forces of the Centre and state.Courtesy:TimesofIndia.