oppn parties Reform The Police Forces Without Further Delay

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  • India conducts a record 6.4 lakh coronavirus tests in a single day on Friday, 31st August
  • Fresh Covid cases top 57000 in India on Friday. More than 11 lakh cases reported in July
  • The US says that China's incursions in several countries were to see the world's reaction
  • The scheme calling for local manufacturing of mobile phones receives applications from Apple vendors like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron, along with Samsung and some Indian players
  • The Enforcement Directorate has started an investigation into money laundering in the Sushant Singh Rajput case after reports of missing funds from his accounts and the FIR in Patna
  • 38 persons were killed after consuming spurious liquor in Punjab's Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts
  • Mehbooba Mufti to spend three more months in detention as the J&K administration extends its order under the Public Safety Act
  • The J&K administration has released Sajad Lone, the chairman of J&K People's Conference after about a year in detention
  • The defence ministry has written to the CBFC to say that web series on the army must seek approval without knowing that the CBFC has no mandate to regulate such content
  • Google and Facebook will now have to pay to carry news from mainstream media in Australia, the first country to enact such a legislation
  • Centre says herd immunity cannot be a strategic option for a country with a huge population density like India
  • Sushant Singh Rajput's father and the Bihar government move the SC in order to prevent his ex-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty from getting the case transferred from Patna to Mumbai
  • ED seeks a copy of the FIR from Bihar police as rumours float about a Rs 15-crore illegal transaction in the Sushant Singh Rajput death case
  • Several Western Naval Command officers, including a captain, booked by the CBI in a Rs 7-crore fraud case
  • Hardik Shah, a 2010-batch IAS officer, is to be the next private secretary to the Prime Minister
Home Minister Amit Shah tests Covid+, admitted to hospital. He had attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday
oppn parties
Reform The Police Forces Without Further Delay

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-07-06 06:46:50

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

It is deplorable and dangerous, but the reality is that many policemen are employed as law-keepers but work for the benefit of lawbreakers. Most gangsters have an information network inside the police force that will do any investigative agency proud. This fact has been brought into focus strongly in the Vikas Dubey case in UP. The police suspect that there was a mole (or moles) in the police station who tipped-off the don about the impending raid. The SHO of the Chaubepur Police Sation, Vinay Tiwari, has already been questioned and suspended. But others are being questioned too as it seems that there were many policemen who were doing double duty. Most policemen do it because they are scared of the gangsters, although they are also bribed. Most policemen think that their uniforms and the authority that goes with it are not enough protection against the goons.

The other disturbing thing is that most gangsters have their tentacles even in the higher echelons of the police force and more importantly, have political backing. Although it does not seem to be true in Vikas Dubey's case, this is generally the situation. Even if some upright officer wants to take action against the gangster, a phone call from a senior officer or the local politician or even someone even higher up prevents him from doing so. This was shown in movies of all languages in India and is increasingly being shown in crime thrillers on OTT platforms and it is not a figment of the writer's imagination. These things have become routine despite governments claiming no interference and a free hand to the police. Every party needs money and muscle to win elections and all of them have their favourite goons. The only change that happens with the change of government in any state is that either the goons also change their political affiliation or are sidelined or even liquidated. Very soon, new goons affiliated to the party in power take their place.

On the other hand, the highhandedness shown by the police force during the lockdown, including the widely condemned custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu, show that the system is faulty. The police are increasingly acting as oppressors of the common man and are misusing their powers. The system of checks and balances is not working properly. The Indian police law in archaic as it was drafted in 1861 and addresses the needs of an occupying force and not that of modern, multicultural democracy. The central government had set up the Police Act Drafting Committee under the chairmanship of noted constitutional expert Soli Sorabjee in 2005 to draft a new model police law to replace the Police Act, 1861. The committee submitted the Model Police Act in 2006, which was circulated to all the states in 2006. But nothing much had come out of it. The Supreme Court has also, from time to time, made many suggestions in this regard.

All this means that the Narendra Modi government should seriously think of initiating police reforms that will make the police forces in all states and the Central agencies truly independent and of international standards by introducing global best practices, robust protocols and modern equipment. As 14 years have passed since the last model act suggested by the Sorabjee committee, If need be, it can appoint another committee to review that model act and suggest more improvements. The foremost requirement to have such a professional police force is that it has to be freed from the control of political masters. Even if any government has the will to do this, there will be two major stumbling blocks. First, with policing being a state subject, the Centre can only make a model law. It will not be binding on states. Second, all political parties (without exception) need the police to do most of their dirty work because some of it that cannot be handled illegally has to be done by subverting the law. The police come in handy for doing that. Hence, major police reforms in India will never happen as the politicians will never let go of their control over the force. The Centre needs to start by implementing the reforms in the Central forces and then bring the states on board.