Long-time police reforms issue in the balance
Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition for the implementation of the laws of states for the selection and appointment of five police officers, police chiefs in Punjab, Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar. The petition was filed for amendment in the earlier orders of the apex court in the process to be adopted for the appointment of the Director General of Police (DGP).
What said the Supreme Court?
This matter is largely related to the public interest, so there should not be political interference in the appointment of police officers.
Any rule or law made by the states on the appointment of police officers will be treated as a breach of the contempt and order of the Supreme Court.
Some state governments appoint their favorite officers as DGP long before retiring. As a result, a person in the same position remains on the post twice till the age of 62 years.
The apex court clarified that although the DGP appointed by the states may be allowed to remain in office even after taking charge, this expansion of the term should only be for ‘appropriate period’.
What will the UPSC?
Significantly, in July 2018, the Supreme Court had stopped the State Governments from appointing a DGP without the advice of the UPSC. In this process, the concerned State Governments have to send the name of the claimants to the post of the UPSC three months before the retirement of the Executive DGP. In order to appoint DGP, a panel of three officers will prepare the UPSC and send it back to the states. As far as practical, the UPSC will choose such people who have at least two years left in retirement. With this, merit and seniority will also be given preference. After this, the State Governments will appoint one of the persons selected by the UPSC to the DGP post.
Model Police Act Format
A committee constituted by the Home Ministry had submitted the Model Police Act format on October 30, 2006.
As per available information, 15 States – Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Punjab, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttarakhand have formulated their State Police Act and two states- Gujarat and Karnataka has amended the existing Police Act. In this way, a total of 17 states have either prepared their own police act or amended the existing Act.
The need for professional police service according to the competent, effective and needs of the people.
Acting as a social responsibility, the police act in accordance with the principles of fairness and human rights.
Special attention should be taken to protect the weaker sections including minorities.
Work autonomy for responsive and responsive police system should be given.
Separate cadre for criminal investigation, civil police and armed police.
The responsibility of the police should be shown in the performance and conduct.
Rationalizing hours of work, a one-day holiday every week, or a supplemental holiday in return.
Police Welfare Bureau should be created so that the health care, housing and legal aid of policemen and financial assistance to the families in the event of death in service.
Insurance protection to all police officers by the governments.
Officers posted in special units should be given special allowance according to the risk of work.
Prakash Singh Committee report on police reforms
Earlier, in 1977, the committee formed under the chairmanship of IAS officer Dharmaveer (it was named the National Police Commission) presented a report about the police reforms, but despite many court decisions and procedures it could not be implemented. It was formed on May 14, 1977 to give recommendations for police reforms in all the states. The National Pool Commission presented a total of eight reports between February 1979 and 1981. The important recommendations of this commission were as follows:
The tenure of a state police chief be assured for a certain time and to encourage functional independence.
There is no external interference in the functioning of the police.
Police reforms commission should be established in each state.
In order to implement the recommendations of the Dharmaveer Committee related to police reforms, former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh had appealed to the Supreme Court in 1996. He questioned the political and misuse of the police. The appeal came in 2006, and the Supreme Court had ordered to implement them in all the states, giving comprehensive guidelines on police reforms. But till today, the state governments have not taken effective steps in this direction.
Supreme Court’s Guidelines
The State Security Commission should be constituted so that the police can work without any pressure.
Police Complaint Authority can be formed, which can investigate serious complaints against the police.
To ensure the duration of the work period from one place to the police chief, from station in charge to police chief.
New Police Act should be implemented.
Separate police arrangements for crime investigation and law and order will be arranged.
Other Committees also gave the recommendations
Earlier , the Law Commission, the Malimath Committee, the Padmanabhaiya Samiti and the National Human Rights Commission have also given their suggestions regarding the police reforms. But none of these recommendations and suggestions were implemented. All these suggested in their recommendations to increase the number of police in the states and recruit women constables.
Umbrella plan for modernization of police forces
Keeping in view the importance of the police, the Central Government has approved the ‘comprehensive Umbrella scheme for modernization of police forces’ for 2017-18 to 2019-20. For this scheme, a provision of Rs 25,060 crore has been made in the period of three years, out of which 18636 crores are to be given to the Central Government and Rs 6424 crores to the states.
Under the scheme, internal security, law and order, women protection, availability of modern weapons, mobility of police forces, logistic support, rental helicopter, upgradation of police wireless, national satellite network, CCTNS project etc.
The plan also includes a provision of central share of Rs 10,132 crore for internal security related expenditure for Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern states and Left-wing extremism-affected areas.
A provision of Rs 3,000 crore for special central assistance has been made for the 35 districts affected by Left wing extremism. This will increase the efforts of Left-wing extremism-affected states in the area of security and development activities.
A provision of Rs 100 crore has been made for upgradation of police infrastructure, training institute, and investment facilities in the North Eastern States.
The implementation of this scheme will help the government in effectively addressing the challenges in different states like militancy affected areas, Jammu and Kashmir and the North-Eastern region.
To establish a national database of crime and crime records by linking police stations with the aim of bringing a radical improvement in the Criminal Justice system and linking it to other components of the Criminal Justice System, such as Prison, Forensic Science Laboratories and Investigation Office.
Apart from this, there is also provision for establishing a state-of-the-art Faculty Laboratory in Amravati, the newly built capital of Andhra Pradesh. Also, upgradation of Sardar Patel Global Security Center in Jaipur, the prevention of anti-terrorism and prevention of terrorist activity has also been said. Under this umbrella scheme, there is also a provision for establishment of University of Law Sciences in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
The police system and the police are both subjects of the state and it is in List 1 and 2 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. In such a situation, the responsibility of implementing various police reforms is on the State Governments / UTs. That is why all states and Union Territories have their own police forces in the country. State police have the responsibility to check the law and order and crimes, while the central forces assist them in matters related to intelligence and internal security. About 3 percent of the budget of the Central and State Governments is spent on the police.
Responsibilities of the state and central police forces are different. State police forces mainly work to prevent local issues such as crime prevention and checking and to restore law and order. Although they respond primarily to the situation of deeper internal security (such as terrorist incidents or militant violence), but central forces get expertise in dealing with such conflicts. Compared to the local police, the central forces were trained to control the riots in large numbers without causing minimal loss to life and property. In addition, the Central forces also assist the security forces protecting the border.