Cops of the plains seem to be in a better position than the mountain monks to explain the real reason behind 'the disease'. Of late, the khaki department personnel have shown the world that they are the only species who can decide when to fall sick and proceed to leave and also recover at will.
The cops' falling sick can be subject of research by the world's universities. They would certainly come across some bizarre viruses that had never been heard of before. Viruses like a fight with the superior, initiation of a departmental enquiry against one, grievance with the present posting, or not getting a preferred one, personal preoccupations or when an applied for leave is cancelled cause unexplained illness among policemen. Not clinically ill but deep-rooted heartburns over an unresolved issue in the department prompt cops to opt for sick leave than real medical emergencies.
City police had a few examples of this in recent times. An officer of deputy commissioner of police rank had proceeded on sick leave when his superior urged him to take frequent rounds of the office to keep a tab on the clerical staffers. The DCP had a 'conditional recovery' after the incumbent city police chief Ankush Dhanvijay assumed charge. He wanted to 'recover' only if the traffic wing would be allotted to him. Dhanvijay did not. The officer again 'fell sick'.
Earlier to this, there was another of same rank who had a tiff with his superior. He left the post, city and region complaining of illness. Till date, there is no trace of him in the city. He miraculously recovered only after being posted in Mumbai.
Any officer, unhappy with the system, reports sick. The ploy is to furnish the reason of his sickness to the department and then during the period of 'sickness' prepare to challenge the decision of the department before the administrative tribunal. If the tribunal decides in favour of the personnel, he would recover or else would prepare to challenge the decision before higher judiciary. Or, turn up with a certificate from a friendly neighbourhood doctor being tired of hide-and-seek game to continue from where he had taken a break.
"Often an officer on sick leave could be found zooming around on his bike or present at his privately owned business centre, happily engaged in work. The salary from the government would be also on with tactical manipulation and relation, the side business and other personal work too would go on," said a former officer on condition of anonymity.
Recently, Pachpaoli police station was left headless with no senior officer not on duty. One had reported sick and another was on holiday. One of the most crucial police stations in the city was left under the supervision of a young sub-inspector. The cops, under the PSI, were so confused that they could not decide whether to chase the assailants or maintain law and order after a sensational murder took place.
The indiscriminate proceeding on leave by cops recently left a man helpless. "My daughter eloped with her friend. We had registered a complaint. Now, the officer supervising the case has gone on a leave and no one knows when he would return. I was tense about when my daughter would return but now am more worried about when the officer would come back," said a man waiting at a city police station.
Sick leave creates more such havocs. Often the officer who had registered the offence and investigated it in the initial stages would be on sick leave while someone else, despite being clueless and also lacking any interest in the case, would be left to probe it further and complete formalities. "I have no clue why the assailant killed the man," would be the reply from the stand-in investigating officer after the actual one had gone on leave for unlimited period.