Thiruvananthapuram: Soon after a Mayor hit the headlines demanding salute from police officers, actor-politican Suresh Gopi, who is a Member of Parliament has kicked up a row on the same issue.
On Wednesday Suresh Gopi demanded an honorary salute from a Sub-Inspector of Police who allegedly did not acknowledge his presence while he was visiting a village in Thrissur district that was hit by storm. Subsequently, some slammed the BJP leader for haughtiness, but other backed him, though many were in the dark about the formal guidelines on who all could be given a salute.
Clear instructions are laid down in the police manual about who all needs to be given a salute by the cops.
Though the elected representatives do not figure in the list, the police generally offer salute to them as a mark of respect.
Suresh Gopi is an MP nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Union Government.
How and when to salute
Salute is not a unilateral ritual which has to be practised by lower rank officials before high ranking officers. When a lower rank official offers a salute, the higher rank official has to reciprocate in the same manner.
Salute is a mark of respect exchanged by members of the police force with each other. Even when the police salutes the administrative heads of the judges, they too should reciprocate with a salute.
The Director General of Police has directed that a traffic cop need not give salute to a VIP passing by, while he is on duty. He can stand in attention and continue with his work.
Police Officers Association general secretary C R Biju said that though there is no provision in the rules to salute an MLA or MP, the cops offer salute as they believe in democracy and respecting the peoples representatives.
There are separate guidelines for armed guards doing sentry duty.
As per the protocol of the central government and the Kerala Government protocol, which is finalised on the basis of Central government's guidelines, an MP is above the Chief Secretary. The MP’s rank in protocol is 21 while the chief secretary is ranked 23rd in the list. The DGP comes further below. But that has no bearing on the eligibility for earning a salute.
List of functionaries to be saluted
as per the Police Manual
National Flag, flags of various defence forces.
President, prime minister, vice president and governor
Chief minister, state and central ministers.
General officers in uniform (DGP, ADGP, IG, DIG)
Supreme Court judges, high court judges, district police chiefs, SPs
Commandants of Units
Special Judge, District Magistrate
Commissioned officers of defence forces, field rank officers of armed forces.