Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

[op-ed snap] Towards a people’s police


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Centre & states approach on police reforms and urgent need to implement them


SC directives on police reforms

  1. The Supreme Court took 10 years to give a historic judgment on Police reforms in 2006
  2. Since then it has been a struggle to get the Court’s directions implemented
  3. The state governments have shown scant regard to the directions given by the highest court of the land

Defining a process for the appointment of DGPs

  1. On July 3, 2018, responding to an interlocutory application filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Supreme Court gave a slew of directions to ensure that there are no distortions in the appointment of Director General of Police (DGP) of the state
  2. It laid down that the states shall send their proposals three months prior to the retirement of the incumbent DGP
  3. The UPSC shall prepare a panel of three officers suitable for elevation to the post of DGP
  4. The state shall appoint one of the persons from the panel only
  5. There would be no appointments of Acting DGP
  6. A person appointed as DGP should continue to hold the post for a reasonable period “beyond the date of superannuation”
  7. The UPSC should as far as practicable empanel officers who have got clear two years of service, giving due weightage to merit and seniority
  8. Any legislation/rule framed by any of the states or the Central Government running counter to the direction shall remain in abeyance

The concept of SMART police

  1. The government of India (GoI), meanwhile, came up with the concept of SMART police in 2014
  2. It meant a police that would be strict and sensitive, modern and mobile, alert and accountable, reliable and responsible, tech-savvy and trained
  3. But there was, however, no effort by the MHA to make the concept a reality

Current status on implementation of SC directives

  1. States have constituted security commissions, as directed by the Supreme Court, but their composition has been diluted and their charter curtailed
  2. 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
  3. There is tardiness in the separation of investigation from law and order functions
  4. There is need to fill up the huge vacancies in the police and upgrade its infrastructure in terms of housing, transport, communications and forensics

Way forward

  1. According to a recent estimate, crime, terrorism and external threats take a huge toll on economic growth and that these cost India 9 percent of its GDP, which is a very high figure
  2. If India is to achieve its status as a great power, it is absolutely essential that police is restructured and modernized
  3. Development needs solid foundations of good law and order
  4. It is high time that GoI consider bringing the police into the “concurrent list” of the Constitution
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