Pune: The recent order of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stating that cops with unsatisfactory medical fitness will be denied President’s Police Medal for distinguished meritorious service has irked many in Pune police.
They are disgruntled as they feel that despite having a decorated career, their physical fitness will become an obstacle in the recommendation for this award.
The order was issued by MHA on September 13 and states, “Police personnel should be physically fit and must be in the shape-1 category while relaxation of the shape-2 category will be given in exceptional cases. The sponsored organisation will issue separate certificates in respect of medical fitness after receiving of physical or medical fitness from the authorised medical officer.”
Shape-1 category means the officer should be extremely fit in terms of S-psychiatric, H-hearing, A-appendages, P-physical and E- eyesight. A shape-1 category cop is fit to serve in all possible environment and situations.
A police officer posted at headquarters in Pune with the decorated career of 200 rewards and 36 years of service, said on the condition of anonymity, “My name has been recommended for the President’s Police Medal for 2018. I have worked on important cases and have also received DG MS (Director General Maharashtra State) and Police Commissioner awards but now all these awards will not help me in getting the President’s Police Medal as I am not medically fit.”
He further added, “This medal should be given on the basis of meritorious work which I have been doing all these years, I am not in my twenties or thirties to be in the shape-1 category.”
Another cop who is currently posted in Pune police traffic branch and is in the last year of his service, said, “I have been awarded the President’s Police Medal in 2015 for my service. That time this rule related to fitness was not there.”
A retired cop who has been awarded with president medal in year 2015 and is going to receive it on November 2017 is worried that how he will go to the attend the programme as he doesn't have uniform, he said, " one should only consider the work while giving the rewards and not the medical fitness in last leg of service. I am also worried about the fact that why a retired perosnnel is asked has to come in uniform while receiving the medal. It is violation of rules and its hectic to arrange the uniform as well.They should allow retired perosnnels to receive the award in civil clothes."
A cop works overtime, works at odd hours, spends most of the time outside his house, is assigned to various bandobast duties during festivals and VIP movements - all this takes a toll on his or her body and by the age of 45-50 years, it affects their physical health.”
The policeman further said there are cops who, despite having medical conditions, have done excellent detections and have controlled mobs during riots.
Police Commissioner’s reaction
When contacted, Police Commissioner Rashmi Shukla said, “I cannot comment much on the government order but cops need to be physically fit to perform his or her duty perfectly.”
Mental ability also counts
A 52-year-old cop currently posted with crime branch on the condition of anonymity said, “Physical fitness is important but most of the cases we detect are done on the basis of mental ability.” “I have been the part of hundreds of investigations and have performed fairly well. But a cop who has done meritorious work throughout his life without any punishments cannot be denied the medal just on the basis of a medical certificate,” he said. He revealed that he has been recommended for President Police Medal almost 10 times, but generally, the medal is been awarded in retiring age when policemen are bound to develop problems like diabetes, hypertension, eye ailments etc.