Pune based Constable Jayashree Mane, began to file RTI applications vigorously after attending a workshop on RTI in 2011. She has filed over 200 RTI applications to expose fraud in duty hour register records of constables and illegal stay by unauthorised persons in official police quarters in Pune police lines and several other corruption issues. For this exemplary public spirit, she has now been punished by expulsion from the police service.
The order which was issued on 26th August by Deputy Police Commissioner Tushar Joshi, states the following reasons for the ``removal from service’’ for this whistleblower’s actions on one particular date of 22nd August, 2013:
The order concludes: `The public image of the police force is damaged due to your irresponsible actions. Your behaviour may prove harmful and have an adverse impact on the discipline and behaviour of other police personnel.’
Mane has been given the opportunity to appeal to Director General of Police, Maharashtra. She has recently submitted a 54-page appeal letter, counteracting the above allegations and seeking justice for ``malicious’’ action by senior police officers. Mane alleges, that she has suffered because of being a whistle blower.
In May last year, Mane was on duty at gate no2 of Shivajinagar Police Headquarters, when, at around 9.30pm, Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) Machhindra Shinde, senior to her and guarding gate no1, slapped her for having used RTI because of which he had to vacate his room in the police line which he had illegally occupied. She did not get any justice at the police station where she went to file a FIR against him. This writer, along with other RTI activists sought an appointment with the then Pune Police Commissioner Satish Mathur with a petition seeking immediate lodging of FIR, putting up the information that Mane has sought uptil now, which comprises 200 RTI applications on its website and treating this case as one of sexual harassment at workplace. Commissioner Mathur assured action but nothing happened.
This propelled this writer and RTI activist Akshay Dawadikar to take recourse to the online grievance cell of Maharashtra unit of the National Commission for Women -NCW. The online complaint appealed for immediate lodging of FIR by Mane against PSI Shinde. It states, “no FIR was lodged today and instead Women Constable Jayashree Mane was insulted and sent away by PI Mehendale when she went to file FIR. Vinita Deshmukh and Akshay Dawadikar had met Police Commissioner Satish Mathur at 12 noon on 5th May appealing him to lodge FIR against the accused Machindra Shinde, but despite our written appeal nothing has been done. Hence at 5.15pm Vinita Deshmukh lodged online complaint with Maharashtra's National Commission for women at www.ncw.nic.in - link to my acknowledgement is: http://ncw.nic.in/OnlineComplaints/frmCmpReceived.aspx?CmpID=C1401836
Thereafter, the NWC had ordered Pune Police to submit a report. Again, nothing happened after that.
All that happened was the most convenient thing to do – Jayashree Mane has been removed from police service.
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)