The Court Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra Government to file a report by February 6 on the existing vacancies in the police force as on December 31 last year and inform what steps were taken by the state to fill up the posts in the past two years.
The direction was given by a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah on a suo motu (on its own) PIL seeking improper probe into the murder of a Pune builder Nikhil Rane.
During the hearing of this PIL earlier, the court had transferred the probe to CBI saying that the State CID had drawn a blank in the investigations. This was done on the plea made by Ashwini Rane, wife of the slain builder.
While this aspect of the PIL had been disposed of, certain issues such as shortage of staff and vacancies in police force came up before the court which adjourned the hearing from time to time.
The High Court also asked the State today to file an affidavit on what steps it would take on its proposal to segregate the police force on the basis of two categories — law and order and investigating crimes.
The bench has fixed the matter for hearing on February 20 and asked the State to give the information on segregation of police force and filling up of vacant posts by February 6.
During the pendency of this PIL, the High Court had come across an affidavit filed by the State in the Supreme Court in another matter on a proposal to segregate the police force two-fold viz investigation of crimes and law and order.
The State had then informed the court that vacancies in the range of 20 per cent to 42 per cent existed in lower categories of police force at the level of sub-inspectors, inspectors, Superintendents of Police and Assistant Commissioners of Police.
However, today, Anil Anturkar, the lawyer for builder’s widow Ashwini Rane, alleged that vacancies still existed in the police force and no steps had been taken to fill them up.
The least that was expected of the Government was to fill up the vacancies, if not improve the investigation machinery, he said.
Nikhil Rane was fatally injured on November 23, 2009, when gangsters fired at him from close range. His widow filed a petition in 2010 seeking transfer of probe to CBI.