Tuesday 14 July 2015

Police Reforms Judgement | Prakash Singh

What SC issued directions for immediate compliance vis-a-vis police reforms?

  • The gravity of the problem
  • The urgent need for preservation and strengthening of rule of law
  • Pendency of even this petition (seeking police reforms) for last over 10 years
  • The fact that various commissions and committees have made recommendations on similar lines for introducing reforms in the police set-up in the country
  • Total uncertainty as to when police reforms would be introduced

What did the court order?
  1. Setting up three institutions: 
    • State security commissions to insulate the state police from extraneous pressures; 
    • Police establishment boards to give autonomy to the department in personnel matters; 
    • Police complaints authorities to ensure better accountability of the force. 
  2. Regarding DGP
    • Laid down a procedure for appointment of the DGP 
    • A fixed tenure of two years
  3. Mandated a two-year tenure for officers performing operational duties in the field
  4. Directions for the separation of investigation from law and order in towns with a population of 10 lakh or more. 
  5. The directions were to be implemented by December 31, 2006.

Reaction to judgement
  • The judgement caused a huge flutter. 
  • The states never expected such far-reaching directions. 
  • SC stated that the court shall not permit review of its judgement, for which there was a proper procedure. 
  • He divided the directions into two parts which had to be implemented forthwith (immediately): 
    • the self-executory directions, which related to the appointment of DGP, 
    • the prescribed minimum tenure for field officers and the setting up of police establishment boards
  • For the remaining directions till March 31, 2007.

Was SC direction implemented?
  • No, some states have cleverly passed laws to circumvent the implementation of the judgement while others have passed executive orders that violate the letter and spirit of the court’s directions. 
  • The Centre has been chary of mounting pressure on the states and has not passed a model police act.

Conclusion in words of Prakash Singh, (The writer of this news in The Indian Express, a retired DG BSF and DGP of UP and Assam, filed the 1996 PIL on police reforms): A progressive, modern India could only be built on the foundations of a sound criminal justice system, of which the police is the central pillar. 


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