Pune: Police units across Maharashtra and other states are engaged in the daunting task of checking records of police personnel, not for rewarding them but to check whether any President’s Police Medal awardee is convicted or dismissed from the service.
The move follows a directive from the Union Home Ministry, which has issued a diktat to withdraw/forfeit the medal of those who have been dismissed from the service or convicted for any act which can bring disrepute to the police force.
“It has been observed that state government organisations are not strictly adhering to the guidelines related to withdrawal of medals. An instance has been noticed that a gallantry award medal awardee was convicted by court and then subsequently dismissed from service in 2006, but the concerned state government did not bring the facts to the notice of the Union Home Ministry. As a result, the process of withdrawal of the medal could not be initiated. This has been considered a serious lapse and needs to be avoided at all costs, otherwise ineligible and unworthy police officers will continue to be decorated with prestigious gallantry medals,” said SK Rastogi, Deputy Secretary (Police) at the Union Home Ministry.
A case of medal withdrawl being delayed
Gurmeet Singh, a Sub-Inspector with the Punjab Police, was awarded the police medal for gallantry in 1997 on a proposal submitted by the State government for his bravery during service.
Later, a criminal case was registered against Singh in 2001 for murder. He was convicted and given life imprisonment in 2006 and subsequently dismissed from the service.
The Union home ministry came to know about the conviction of the officer only in July, 2015. Soon, the matter was taken up with the Punjab government, which confirmed the conviction and advised the ministry to initiate the process of withdrawal of the medal.
After taking views of the intelligence agencies, the home ministry sent a proposal to the then President Pranab Mukherjee for withdrawal of the police medal awarded to Singh and the medal was subsequently withdrawn.