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Police don’t have same rights as citizens: Gujarat DGP on social media ‘gag order’


By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |

Published: July 22, 2020 12:40:31 am

Gujarat police, Gujarat police gag order, Gujarat police code of conduct, Gujarat Police use of social media, Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha. (File)
A day after issuing a first-of-its-kind ‘gag order’ or ‘code of conduct’ for personnel of Gujarat Police regarding their usage of social media, Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) Shivanand Jha, on Tuesday, said that police do not enjoy the same rights as citizens or other government staff due to the nature of their job, in the wake of several social media campaigns seeking wage hike for constable rank personnel in the force.

Jha further said that any attempts made by persons outside the police force to provoke police personnel, regarding issues such as low wages, will be strictly dealt with and police personnel involved in the agitation will face both legal and departmental action. In this regard, three persons were detained in Gandhinagar on Tuesday. A case was filed against them for trying to provoke police force through a campaign on social media to increase the wage of Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) constables.

“Policing is not an ordinary job, but a service towards society and the country. It cannot be compared with any other government job. If someone works in the department without the feeling of service, they cannot serve the society with the best police model… Police don’t enjoy the same rights as citizens or other government personnel under the Police Forces Restriction of Rights Act, given the extremely strict departmental rules and the nature of job as a discipline force. The personnel can seek grievance redressal through proper channels in the department and not on public platforms,” said Jha in a press conference in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.

On Monday, DGP Jha issued a circular titled “Code of Conduct” for members of Gujarat Police related to their use of social media, where police personnel have been asked to not criticize the government or police force, be a part of any agitation or campaign, post any opinion related to government work, post requests related to police service or post anything political or communal on social media.

“The code of conduct will be applicable to all personnel of Gujarat Police using social media for public as well as private use… They should not make any critical comments on the government or police department while using social media related to their duty. They should not post or transmit any service related application, they should not post any personal opinion while using social media for government work (sic),” read the notification. It was issued after sustained campaigns demanding better wages for unarmed police constables and LRD constables of Gujarat Police on social media.

“…I warn those outside the police department to not provoke as this is an attempt to create unrest among personnel in the name of wage increase. It will be looked as an attack on the uniform and strict action will be taken against them. Any attempt to break the unity of khakhi will not be tolerated and such police personnel who are part of the campaign will face legal and departmental action… In the times of Covid-19, police are working with full determination and few anti-social elements with maligned intentions are trying to provoke the police force for a violent agitation. They will face legal action under the Disaster Management Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act, with respect to the pandemic,” Jha said.

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