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How can police be free of undue political interference?

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Whether it is the murder of Jessica Lal or the more recent case of stalking of a girl by a politician's son, political interference in police work has been a huge problem. Police is India is not as honest and efficient as it can be and undue political interference is big part of the problem.

We explain how this problem can be tackled.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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How can police be free of undue political interference?

  1. 1. How Can Police be INDEPENDENT of Undue Political Interference?
  2. 2. Police play a very important role in our society Corruption Murder Robbery Rioting Sexual Assault Investigation Punishment Initial victim care Police is one of the primary agencies to maintain Law & Order.
  3. 3. Does the Police fulfill its role properly? Police in India is not as effective and honest as it could be. There are many reasons: * Source: Police Reforms in India, PRS. Shortage of policemen and policewomen UN recommends 222 police personnel per Lakh. Actual in 2016 – 139 * Police force is underequipped Example: Rajasthan had only 25% of sanctioned weaponry during 2009-14 * Constables (86% of the force) can expect maximum just 1 promotion in their career.
  4. 4. Does the Police fulfill its role properly? However, one of the biggest reasons is that there is undue political interference in Police work.
  5. 5. Who should the head of police report to? It has to be a democratically elected representative, because: • One of the main functions of a government is to provide law and order and the police is one of the main agencies for this. Elected representatives cannot provide law and order in the society unless police is reporting to them. • If the chief of police does not report to an elected representative, he could become a dictator. HOWEVER, The problem arises when the political control on police is undue.
  6. 6. What do we mean by undue interference? It is undue influence when: • The son of a politician murders a girl in the presence of many witnesses but is not investigated properly because of his connections.
  7. 7. What do we mean by undue interference? • The Superintendent of Police cannot transfer a corrupt subordinate just because of his connections with a political party UNDUE POLITICAL INFLUENCE
  8. 8. What do we mean by undue interference? • A police constable cannot even fine an individual for illegal parking just because she is a municipal corporator
  9. 9. Such undue influence is corrosive, because: • People feel that it is OK to break the law if they are politically connected. • The police does not focus on its job but is always calculating the consequences of doing an honest job. • Aggrieved citizens lose their faith in the police
  10. 10. Political control not undue influence Director General of Police (DGP) Additional DGP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Deputy IGP Senior Superintendent of Police Superintendent of Police (SP) Additional SP Assistant/ Deputy SP Inspector Sub Inspector (SI) Assistant SI Head Constable Constable CM/HM OTHER POLITICIANS Director General of Police (DGP) Additional DGP Inspector General of Police (IGP) Deputy IGP Senior Superintendent of Police Superintendent of Police (SP) Additional SP Assistant/ Deputy SP Inspector Sub Inspector (SI) Assistant SI Head Constable Constable OTHER POLITICIANS CM/HM
  11. 11. To summarize, a fine balance is needed Elected representatives are mandated with maintaining Law and Order hence they need to control the police. Additional danger that the Police Chief becomes a dictator. If the Police is only serving the politicans and not the people, they lose society’s respect and eventually would become demotivated
  12. 12. Police reforms in India Many committees have studied police reforms in India. • Police Reforms Committee, Kerala 1959. • Police Commission West Bengal in 1960-61 • Punjab in 1961-62 • Delhi in 1968 • Tamil Nadu in 1971 • Working Group on Police by the Administrative Reforms Commission, 1966 • Gore Committee on Police Training in 1971 • National Police Commission 1977-1981: Submitted 8 reports suggesting wide ranging reforms in the existing police set-up and also a Model Police Act • Ribeiro Committee to review action taken to implement the recommendations of the Padmanabhaiah Committee • Malimath Committee on reforms of Criminal Justice System in India was set up in 2003 Many of them dealt with the issue of political interference.
  13. 13. Supreme Court action In 1996, Prakash Singh filed a petition in Supreme Court on undue interference. In 2006, the Supreme Court gave 8 directives: 7 directives to 6 states and 1 directive to the centre.
  14. 14. SC directives on police reforms Directive 1 Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to: Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police Lay down broad policy guidelines Evaluate the performance of the state police
  15. 15. SC directives on police reforms Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based, transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of 2 years. Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in charge of a district and Station House Officers in charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of 2 years. 2YEARTENURE DGP 2YEARTENURE Directive 2 Directive 3
  16. 16. SC directives on police reforms Separate the: i) Investigation function and ii) Law and order function of the police Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to: (i) To decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters for Deputy Superintendent of Police and below (ii) To recommend postings and transfers for rank above Deputy Superintendent of Police Directive 4 Directive 5
  17. 17. SC directives on police reforms Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of 2 years Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) to inquire into public complaints against police officers in cases of serious misconduct (custodial death, grievous hurt, rape in police custody, etc) - To inquire at State level for rank above Deputy Superintendent of Police - To inquire at District level for Deputy Superintendent of Police and below Directive 6 Directive 7
  18. 18. What is the current status of these measures? Niti Aayog, a Government of India think tank, evaluated the progress in 2016.
  19. 19. Status of Supreme Court Directives “A review of the status of implementation of the SC directions reveals a dismal picture.” “Seventeen states passed new laws legitimizing status quo while other states passed merely executive orders.” - Building Smart Police in India: Background intoThe Needed Police Force Reforms, NITI Ayog.
  20. 20. States may comply with letter but not spirit of directives Even if a state has passed an act, the wording of the act may be in contravention of the spirit of the directives. For example, Bihar on Directive 3 (Tenure of other officers):“Conditions for premature removal include subjective considerations, such as incapacitation for “any other reasons” or “administrative grounds”, which are subject to misuse. Gujarat on Directive 3: “Tenure is two years ordinarily. ” The word “ordinarily” is violative of the SC direction. Source: IBID
  21. 21. To summarize Timeline of committees. Police reforms have taken a long and winding road. Directives are not enough. Even if a directive is complied with in letter, is it complied with in spirit? 1959 1960-61 1961-62 1968 1971 1966 1971-1981 1996 2003 2006 2017
  22. 22. So what can be done? Society needs to follow up on these reforms state by state. For example, TRANSFERS We could monitor the number of transfers (Directive 3) and publish how many times it was done for “administrative grounds” or “any other reason.” STATE PERFORMANCES We could publicize the achievements of better performing states and the transgressions of badly performing states. NGOs working in this area need to be credible and politically neutral for effectiveness. If they oppose only one political party then they lose credibility.
  23. 23. What can you do? Be aware of the issues. Raise these with your MLA / MP.
  24. 24. Thank you! Further Resources Building Smart Police in India: Background into The Needed Police Force Reforms, NITI Ayog. https://goo.gl/e56Wr8 Police Reforms in India, PRS. https://goo.gl/QYmGtg Many articles from Commonwealth Human Rights initiativehttps://goo.gl/Lv7uhV For many more topical InfoCapsules and Shorts, do visit us at http://www.askhowindia.org/. See you there!

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