Mumbai: The Mumbai police is in a spot after the Bombay High Court ordered the state government to demolish or regularise all illegal beat chowkies (posts) in the city.

The state home ministry has admitted that 269 of the 388 beat chowkies in Mumbai are illegal. Indur Kartar Chhugani, who got this information after filing a Right to Information application, says the court order will force the authorities to clear the chowkies. "The HC held that these are chowkies are illegal, but who constructed them? The builders. No permissions were taken from authorities and no taxes were paid either. Electric connections were pilfered and they are no guidelines,” he says.

The court has asked the state government to name of the sponsors be taken off 52 police chowkies and remove advertisements from nine chowkies. It has sought report on whether the chowkies were pilfering electricity. A report on chowkies across Maharashtra has to be filed by January 9.

Many Mumbai residents may consider the chowkies a necessary evil but Chhagani, 59, is clear about his mission. “If the High Court passes an order that these chowkies are illegally constructed and have to be demolished, it will send a message across India that police are not above the law,” he says.