A Delhi Police officer residing in official accommodation in Dwarka in west Delhi was seriously injured when one of the room's ceiling fell on him. He suffered a broken limb and had to take a considerably long medical leave.
This, however, was not an isolated case.
Fed up of the dilapidated condition of their living quarters, 68 Delhi Police officers - assistant sub- inspectors, head constables and constables - staying at Dwarka's Sector 13 have knocked at the court's door.
Taking note of their petition, Justice Manmohan ordered the formation of a committee to look into the conditions of flats and to ensure they are immediately repaired or renovated.
The court also said that if the police personnel continue to face such neglect from the authorities, "they would not be able to discharge their duties efficiently and effectively".
"The state owes a duty to provide reasonable, safe and secure accommodation to its officials," he added.
The high court said the committee will comprise one representative each to be nominated by the secretary of the Public Works Department (PWD), the Delhi Police Commissioner, the Commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the CEO of the Delhi Jal Board and the Vice Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority.
The police officers contended that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had handed over 106 flats to Delhi Police in Dwarka's Sector 13 between 2002 and 2003.
However, after their allotment, the authorities have not done any repair work on the flats.
The plaster and ceilings require instant modifications and repair work, the petition said.
The electric wiring and meters in all the flats are also badly exposed, making the policemen and their families vulnerable to electric shocks.
Moreover, they contended that they have to spend hefty amounts to get the flats repaired from time to time to make them livable.
The police officers asked the high court to direct Delhi Police, the Delhi Police Housing Society - which looks after the residential accommodation provided to Delhi Police personnel - and DDA to repair all allotted flats and to reimburse the expenses borne by them for carrying out essential repair work.
The court also slammed the city police on its submission that the Police Commissioner had
passed an order fixing an annual ceiling on expenditure for carrying out repair work.
"If a property requires extensive repair and renovation, the respondents (Delhi Police) cannot take the stand that they would not spend more than the ceiling amount," Justice Manmohan said in his order.