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Background of police reforms

  1. The Police Act of 1861 governs most police forces in India. The act was ordained by the British in the aftermath of the Revolt of 1857 or the First War of Independence.
  2. The Act continues to be enforced till day in most states of India despite far reaching alterations in governance post-independence.
  3. The structure of Indian police is still on the basis of colonial Indian Police Act of 1861.
  4. Some states have made a few modification in the above act e.g. Bombay Police act of 1951, Karnataka Police act of 1963, Delhi police act of 1978 etc. But all of them are patterned on the model of old 1861 Police act.
  5. It is understaffed and untrained.
  6. Police lack many of the technological capabilities necessary to perform quality investigations.
  7. Politicization of police forcesespecially at higher level (CBI as caged parrot remark by Supreme Court).
  8. Unwillingness of authorities (state governments) to reform police forces.

Committees constituted for the Police Reform:

  1. Gore committee on police training in 1971-73
  2. National police commission 1977, recommendations related to organisation, structure, corruption, accountability and modernisation of police forces.
  3. Ribeiro committee 1998 was setup on the orders of Supreme Court.
  4. In 2000, the Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms was constituted to study, inter alia, recruitment procedures for the police force, training, duties and responsibilities, police officers’ behaviour, police investigations and prosecution.
  5. Police Act Drafting Committee setup by GoI, headed by Soli Sorabji.

The Seven Directives by Supreme Court (2006):

The apex court gave its nearly revolutionary directions in 2006; a decade after Important Case of Prakash Singh and others vs the Union of India (1995).The states and union territories were directed to comply with following seven binding directives that would kick-start reform:-

1) Directive One

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 guideline.
  • Evaluate the performance of the state police.

2) Directive Two

  • Ensure that the DGP is appointed through the merit-based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.

3) Directive Three

  • 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 two years.

4) Directive Four

  • Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police.

5) Directive Five

  • Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

6) Directive Six

  • Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.

7) Directive Seven

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 Organizations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.

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