Kolkata, Mar 21 (IANS): The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday has directed the West Bengal government to define the role of civic volunteers in assisting regular police forces in maintaining law & order problems and prepare detailed guidelines on this count.
A single-judge bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha has directed the state government to prepare the guidelines and submit them by March 29. He also directed the state government to mention details on how many civic volunteers are on police duties currently.
The bench was hearing a petition against Sarsuna Police station regarding the case of a missing youth. It was alleged that he was taken to custody by two civic volunteers and since then he went missing. His family members filed a petition on this count.
The post of civic volunteers was created in Kolkata Police and West Bengal Police in 2012 - a year after the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government came to power in West Bengal ending the 34- year long Left Front regime. As per the records of the Chief Minister's office, currently there are 1,19,916 civic volunteers in the state.
The appointment for civic volunteers is purely on a contractual basis and they are entitled to a monthly payment of Rs 9,000 besides some additional benefits like insurance.
The opposition parties had been vocal against the appointment of civic volunteers since the beginning. The contention of the opposition parties had been that these civic volunteers are principally the uniformed cadres of the ruling Trinamool.