The Madras High Court on Tuesday disapproved of the practice of traffic policemen using their mobile phones during work hours. It directed the Director General of Police as well as the Commissioner of Police, Chennai, to issue circulars instructing their subordinates in the traffic department to desist from such a practice.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh broached the subject immediately after occupying his seat on Tuesday morning and asked Additional Public Prosecutor M. Mohamed Riyaz to take up the issue with the police officers and see to it that no traffic policeman entrusted with the duty of regulating traffic ends up spending time on his mobile phone.
The judge said that on his way to the court, he was appalled to see a woman getting almost knocked down by a car at a traffic signal because the policemen in-charge of the junction was busy with his mobile phone. Stating that it was not a one-off incident, the judge said he had been coming across such incidents frequently at many places.
“The policemen are either talking over their phone or using some mobile apps without attending to their work sincerely. Their job cannot be taken so easily because it relates to saving lives. Will you accept if we judges use our mobile phones while hearing cases? Some professionals cannot use mobile phones at all during work hours,” he said.
Observing that his intention was not get a particular policeman punished, the judge insisted that the DGP as well as the Commissioner of Police must ensure that traffic policemen are given adequate warning against use of mobile phones during work hours and taken to task if they were found guilty of doing so.
The APP agreed to convey the message to the officers and make sure that the message reached the lowest level in the traffic wing of the department forthwith.
He also said a circular as directed by the court shall be issued and a copy of it produced before the court within a week.