For decades, Madhya Pradesh had been promoting policemen out of turn, a scheme aimed at motivating personnel in the dacoit-infested Chambal ravines. The state has now scrapped it, for it was causing resentment within the force, apart from being the subject of constant allegations about favouritism and corruption.
Long after the gangs had been wiped out, the scheme continued to reward policemen for encounters with criminals or for excelling in sports. Now, such performers will get rewards like cash or firearms. “There were a lot of complaints that the undeserving were promoted, causing heartburn in a force where rank is very important,” DGP Nandan Dubey said, admitting the policy had degenerated.
Most beneficiaries in recent years were sub-inspectors promoted to inspector, leaving about 100 colleagues upset. The promotions invited charges of beneficiaries currying favour with IPS officers who recommend these promotions, and, occasionally, of bribery. Courts have passed strictures, especially relating to “encounters” that turned out to be fake later, and ordered demotions at times.
“It requires a team effort to eliminate criminals and dacoits but when only a chosen few get credit and promotions, the policy ends up demotivating the rest,” a senior officer said, recalling instances when criminals killed in “encounters” were found to be alive.
“In the larger interest, it was best to scrap the policy because it created unhealthy competition. Those with high morale don’t need this to perform,” said former DGP A R Puar.
Few states have such a policy. More than a dozen recommendations were pending with headquarters but will no longer be considered.
Opinion on the policy is still divided with some officers continuing to support it, saying it was the only tool to motivate those who go beyond the call of their immediate duty to turn in a performance better than expected of them. Dubey’s predecessor, S K Raut, during whose tenure more than three dozen such promotions were given, still roots for the policy to motivate a force of 85,000-plus.
“There may have been instances of injustice but they can be rectified by improving the procedure,” Raut said. “You don’t do away with roads because there are