The state government announced on Friday that it has decided to establish a dedicated helpline, 14449, for lodging complaints against police personnel. This announcement was made in an affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court, in connection with a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL).
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi informed the High Court that the Union Ministry of Communications has allocated the shortcode 14449 to the state government as a dedicated helpline for reporting police misconduct. However, the helpline has not yet been activated by the concerned service providers due to some technical issues, which are expected to be resolved within approximately 15 days.
Once activated, the helpline will operate round-the-clock, similar to the 100 helpline, and will serve as an independent platform for lodging complaints of police misconduct. Krina Kalla, representing amicus curiae Shalin Mehta, raised concerns that the helpline number ‘14449’ may not be easily memorable for the public and suggested that it should be a rhyming number.
In response, Advocate General Trivedi argued that ‘14449’ is more suitable than ‘1064’, the current helpline number for the Anti-Corruption Bureau. He further stated that the allocation of special numbers falls under the jurisdiction of the Central government and assured the bench that the new helpline number would be widely publicized.
Following the hearing, the High Court scheduled a further hearing for February 15. The court had initiated the suo motu PIL following an incident in which police and TRB jawans allegedly extorted Rs 60,000 from a family near the Ognaj toll plaza in Ahmedabad in August last year.
During the hearing, another case of alleged police extortion was brought forward by an individual who had visited Gujarat with a liquor bottle to watch the Cricket World Cup final match. The state government had previously proposed several options, including extending the existing 100 helpline. However, Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha Mayee insisted on a separate, dedicated helpline for complaints against police and TRB jawans, distinct from the existing helplines – 100, 112, and 1064 – used for seeking police assistance or reporting corrupt government officials.