Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

How police can serve citizens better

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CCTNS

Mains level : Paper 2- Technology driven service delivery mechanism by

The article highlights the necessity of adopting the technology driven service delivery mechanism by the police.

SC mandated police reforms of 2006

Cost of inefficient criminal justice system

  • There is a reluctance to implement the Supreme Court-mandated police reforms of 2006.
  • The economic cost of the failed criminal justice system is reflected in the reluctance of foreign companies to set up manufacturing and commercial ventures in India for want of quick settlement of criminal, labour and civil disputes.
  • The social implications can be gauged from the report, “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Investigation and prosecution need improvement and all criminal trials must be completed within a year.
  • Technology-driven service delivery mechanisms can help achieve this.

Need to ensure time-bound delivery of services

  • Along with prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order, police stations in India undertake numerous daily tasks.
  • These tasks include providing verifications and no objection certificates of different kinds to citizens.
  • In criminal and non-cognisable cases, police stations provide copies of FIRs, complaints and final reports.
  • Police stations also verify domestic help/employees of central and state governments/public sector undertakings/students going abroad for studies.
  • The Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) had identified 45 such tasks in 2017.
  • Ease of business means police stations dispose of these requests in a transparent and time-bound manner.
  • The procedures are non-transparent and timelines are often blurred which encourage corrupt practice.
  • Even as police reforms are pursued by the Supreme Court, a definite attempt can be made to ensure time-bound delivery of the above-mentioned services to citizens.

Use of technology for service delivery

  • These e-portals of various state police seek to provide citizen-centric services such as requests for issue/renewal of various NOCs, verification requests for servants, employment, passport, senior citizen registrations etc.
  • The India Justice Report (IJR) 2020 supported by Tata Trusts has studied the e-portals of various state police organisations.
  • The report mentions that “despite the push for digitisation, no state offered the complete bouquet of services…
  • The report also mentions that users face numerous problems of accessibility to these services.
  • The IJR 2020 audit confirms that states need to invest more resources to upgrade their e-portals for providing the 45 identified basic services to the citizens

Way forward

  • This highlights that technology for service delivery to citizens has not been prioritised by the police leadership.
  • . This is a task that police leadership can concentrate on without any political interference.
  • The Bureau of Police Research had worked out the timeline for each service and the hierarchy/levels involved.
  • The recommendations have been shared with the state police organisations.
  • Adhering to a defined process with a timeline and clear delineation of the levels of police officers involved can ensure transparent and non-corrupt service delivery.
  • It will reduce the number of fruitless visits a citizen makes to a police station chasing different officers.
  • Along with ease of use, the language of e-portals needs attention too.
  • Citizens seeking clearances may not be very educated.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earmarked about Rs 20,000 crore for the modernisation of police (2017-2020), for schemes such as crime and criminal tracing networks and system (CCTNS), police wireless and e-prisons.
  • States can take up this crucial service delivery mechanism.

Conclusion

Life for Indians would be transformed if government departments, including the police, provide maximum information and services through their portals respecting the defined processes and timelines

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