“Change is the law of nature”, anything which remains constant can’t stand the test of time and reasonableness, and it may either be a person, a group, legislation or even civilizations or for this case anything. Our entire police system is governed by the 152 years old “Police Act, 1861’ which has been “amended” but not proportionately to the need of the hour.
Today the Indian Police clearly lacks accountability under its “antiquated” police act, this act had proved very instrumental for our colonial masters in sustaining and legitimizing their colonial rule over us. The British police brasses behaved and lived like lords and were above any accountability and had no responsibility and when India got independence in 1947 all these traits were also endowed upon our very own “Indianised” Police brass.
The police have a role of protector and also of an “arbitrator” in a society but in our Indian system, police has always been viewed as something to “scare” off. The police are for the help of the commonality and not for suppression of its own people. After the brutal rape and murder of a 23 year old physiotherapy student in the national capital there was a demand that there should be reforms for police because they are not sensitized towards the fairer sex. In fact I believe they are not sensitized towards the entire population. Today when we hear about rape and other crimes and the dereliction which police showed in discharging their duties, when we hear about fake encounters, like the “ishrat jahan case” to name a few, when we hear about the “communal tinge” in police during riots and all such “good” deeds of our very own “men in khaki”, we look for a answer to such misdeeds. The answer lies in the fact that in our country policing has been politicized and above this there is no legislational accountability of the acts committed by police. It is now because of the “proactive role of judiciary” or what we term as “judicial activism” and the active role played by the media that the acts of police have now come under some sort of “scrutiny”.
Since our Constitution makes “Police” a state subject, the power lies with the state governments to take measures for reforming the police system but the matter has been lying in abeyance for the past thirty years. In the year 1996 two ex DGP’s filed a PIL before the Honorable Supreme Court of India for directing the government for implementing the recommendations of the National Police Commission. The government was directed by the Supreme Court to setup a review committee to review the recommendations of the commission and the Reberro committee came into existence, since then we have seen numerous committees on police reforms but no concrete steps were taken to implement the recommendations of the commission. The basic reason why the recommendations are not being implemented is lack of political will. The commission recommends fixation of tenure and prevention from unnecessary transfers except in unavoidable circumstances of the officers from the level of Sub-Inspector of Police to The Director General of Police. This is the basic bone of contention which the political brass is not willing to implement.
The police and its working has come under much debate starting from the “Babri masjid Demolition” case to the Gujarat riots of 2002 and also at various instances where police was blamed of killing innocent persons in cold blood. Even the way policing are being carried out in the “Red” areas or Naxal affected areas of our country also poses serious questions on the entire framework on which the police works.
These were some external problems which the police have, there are numerous internal problems which affect the working of police in various ways. These problems are basically faced by the lower rung officials of the force, There are various instances where they are not being granted promotion on time, the best example here is the case of Uttar Pradesh, where officers of the rank of Sub-Inspector have not been promoted to the rank of Inspector even after “30” to “35” years of service and this is not an exceptional case, on the other hand it’s an exception in Uttar Pradesh if a lower rank officer is promoted in 20 years of service. If a person is not being given even a single promotion in 30 years then how can we expect from that person to perform his duty in a rightful manner.
The need of the hour is that there should be overhauling of the entire “Police Structure” and it should be supplemented by other legislations which tends to make the officers more responsible, the best example of such a legislation is the communal violence bill 2012 which seeks to punish the concerned police officers with penal provisions if they are found guilty of dereliction in their duty.