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Police Reforms In India

Police Reforms In India

Introduction

  • Under the Indian Constitution, policing is a state power, which means that state governments have the responsibility to provide their communities with a police service (the national government has the responsibility for policing in union territories). Most state governments have a police law that adopts or reflects the basic ideas of the 1861 legislation.
  • Max Weber defined ‘State’ as an organisation that has a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force.
  • The police are the instrument of physical force of the State.
  • They have to bear the burden of failure of other instruments of governance as well.
  • Due to Poor infrastructure and lack of trained officials incidents like Dimapur lynching (where mob entered the prison) occur. The Supreme Court has issued directives for police reforms in 2006 under Parkash Singh Badal Judgement, but the directives were not effectively implemented by the respective state Governments.

Historical Background | Police Reforms In India 

  • The Police System is a colonial legacy. The first Police commission was set up in 1857 soon after the mutiny. First Indian Police Act was enacted in 1861
  • Post – independence, we are still governed majorly by Indian Police Act (IPA) of 1861 which was drafted as a direct consequence of the Revolt of 1857.
  • Sir A H L Curzon commission was established in 1902-03 for Police Reforms and to look into issues arising because of Indian police Act 1861. It recommended the appointment of local people at officer level in the police system.
  • National Police Committee, 1978 was the first commission at the national level after independence. It had a broad term of reference covering the police organization, its role, functionality, accountability, relations with the public etc. It produced eight reports including Model Police Act, between 1979-81. But the majority of recommendations of NCP have remain unimplemented.

The Existing Policing System in India | Police Reforms In India 

  • ‘Public order’ and ‘Police’ figure in the State list in the VII schedule of our constitution.
  • The Police Act, 1861 is still the basic instrument governing the functioning of the Indian police.
  • The Director General and Inspector General of Police is the head of a state police.
  • States are divided into districts and a Superintendent of Police heads the district police.

Problems with existing Policing system | Police Reforms In India 

  • Political control of police by the political executive is not conditioned and is not kept within its legitimate bounds.
  • The police does not have functional responsibility while remaining under the supervision of the political executive.
  • Internal management systems are not fair and transparent.
  • Public complaints are not addressed properly and police accountability is comparatively less.
  • Policing efficiencies have decreased in terms of their core functions.

Various expert Bodies on Police Reforms

  • National Police Commission (1977-81)
  • Ribeiro Committee (1988) was formed by Court to review the action taken to implement the recommendations of NPC
  • In 1996, A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Prakash Sing and N K Singh in the Supreme Court asking the Court to direct governments to implement the NPC recommendations.
  • Padmanabhaiah Committee (2000) on examining the requirement of Policing in the new millennium submitted its report in 2000
  • Malimath Committee (2002-03) submitted its reports in 2003 on Criminal Justice system
  • Supreme Court’s seven Directives on Prakash Singh vs Union of India (2006)
  • Second Administrative Reform Commission recommendation on Police Reform

National Police Commission (NPC)

  • The National Police Commission appointed by the government in 1977 felt that “far reaching changes have taken place in the country” since independence but “there has been no comprehensive review of the police system after independence despite radical changes in the political, social and economic situation in the country”.
  • The government’s response to the core recommendations of the National Police Commission was unfortunately negative.

Supreme Court Seven directives in Prakash Singh case in a nutshell

  1. Directive One: Constitute a State Security Commission to prevent undue political interference in policing by making policy guidelines.
  2. Directive Two: a Merit-based transparent system for appointment of DGP and a minimum tenure of 2 years
  3. Directive Three: Provide security of tenure to Superintendent of Police, Officer in charge of Police station and police officers in operational duties.
  4. Directive Four: Separate wings for law and order administration and Investigative policing.
  5. Directive Five: Setting up of a Police Establishment Board to decide on the matters of transfer, postings, promotion and other service related matters.
  6. Directive Six: A Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to look into complaints of serious nature against police officers. It will take up cases of misconduct for officers of and above the rank of DSP.                Police Reforms In India
  7. Directive Seven: Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.

Suggestions To Improve Policing System In India

  • SMART Policing should be focused upon– SMART i.e. Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and responsive, Tech savvy and Trained.
  • Community Policing can be promoted– “Community Policing is an area specific proactive process of working with the community for prevention and detection of crime, maintenance of public order and resolving local conflicts and with the objective of providing a better quality of life and sense of security”.
  • Gender Parity in Police force– The 2nd Administrative Reform Commission recommended that the representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police.
  • Police Training– Training should focus on bringing in attitudinal change in police so that they become more responsive and sensitive to citizens’ needs.
  • Improvement in Intelligence gathering– The intelligence gathering machinery in the field needs to be strengthened and at the same time, made more accountable. Human intelligence should be combined with information derived from diverse sources with the focus on increased use of technology.
  • Improvement in Forensic Infrastructure -There is need to expand the forensic facilities and upgrade them technologically. Every district or a group of districts having 30 to 40 lakhs population should have a forensic laboratory.

Conclusion | Police Reforms In India 

  • Safe and efficient internal security is need of the hour for sustainable economic growth for India particularly in the light of complex security threats
  • A review of Police Governance framework, legal set up, the issues ailing the Police force all call for Police reforms to be a priority of the state
  • It is essential to now look at the police as a service organization meeting those needs of the society that are essential for safety, security, quality of life and peace.

 

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