Towards a people’s police(Indian express summary-5th July 2018)

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts Indian express summary about Need of police reforms in India and challenges in achieving it.

Towards a people’s police

Context:

It is high time that GoI consider bringing police in the “concurrent list” of the Constitution.

Why transfer to concurrent list?

  • “Public Order” and “Police” are “State subjects” falling in Entry 1&2 of List-II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • It is the State Governments/UT Administrations, which have to implement the various police reforms measures. The Centre persuades the States from time to time to bring the requisite reforms in the Police administration to meet the expectations of the people.
  • States are expected to do police reforms for better governance.
  • State’s indifference to systematic improvements to be corrected
  • States misusing police dept for their political benefits by not allowing for reforms
  • For this Union intervention is needed which is possible only when “police” is transferred to concurrent list.
  • Need of people police rather than ruler police.

Timeline of Police reforms:

  • Battle for police reforms has been going on for the last 22 years.
  • The Supreme Court took 10 years to give a historic judgment in 2006
  • States show scant regard to the directions given by the highest court of the land i.e. no implementation of reforms as per SC order

History:

I: A Committee set up by Ministry of Home Affairs in September, 2005 submitted a draft Model Police Act on 30th October, 2006. A copy of the draft Model Police Act as framed by the Committee was sent to States for consideration and appropriate action vide Home Secretary’s D.O. letter dated 31st October, 2006. 

As per information available, so far 15 States viz. Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttarakhand have formulated their State Police Act and 2 States, viz. Gujarat and Karnataka have amended their existing Police Act. Thus, total 17 State Governments have either formulated their State Police Acts or amended the existing one.

Purpose of the act:

  • The Model Act emphasized the need to have a professional police ‘service’ in a democratic society, which is efficient, effective, responsive to the needs of the people and accountable to the Rule of Law.
  • The Act provided for social responsibilities of the police and emphasizes that the police would be governed by the principles of impartiality and human rights norms, with special attention to protection of weaker sections including minorities (preamble to the Act).

II.The Supreme court of India has to come into picture and has issued directives to initiate police reforms in a PIL filed by former DIG of Police Prakash Singh. The aspects explored are the reluctance of states in implementation of those issued directives by Apex court in Prakash Singh’s Case. 

III . Justice Thomas Committee (2010) expressed its “dismay over the total indifference to the issue of reforms in the functioning of police being exhibited by the states”.

IV. Justice Verma committee also recommended for implementing directions as mentioned in Prakash Singh case. But follow up regarding this.

V. The government of India (GoI), meanwhile, came up with the concept of SMART police in 2014 — police that would be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained. There was, however, no effort by the MHA to make the concept a reality and states were however not concerned.

Latest SC intervention:

By recent SC intervention following measures taken States have constituted security commissions, as directed by the Supreme Court, but their composition has been diluted and their charter curtailed.

Other measures to be taken:

  1. There is an attempt by the Department of Personnel to subvert the Court’s direction regarding police establishment board, apart from the fact that the boards already constituted are not as per the judicial directions.
  2. There is tardiness in the separation of investigation from law and order functions.
  3. There is need to fill up the huge vacancies in the police and
  4. Upgrade its infrastructure in terms of housing, transport, communications and forensics.

Why police reforms are needed?

If not implemented, according to a recent estimate, crime, terrorism and external threats take a huge toll on economic growth and that these cost India 9 per cent of its GDP, which is a very high figure (China lost only 4 per cent, Japan 3 per cent).

Way forward:

  • Political will and freedom from executive is needed
  • Functional autonomy to be granted.
  • Pressure groups and NGO’s should compel the governments.
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