Recently the video of police brutality and high handedness in Jalna district of Maharashtra goes viral leading to suspension of police officer. This incidence again create an echo of long pending police reform in India.
Need of Police Reform
According to BPRD ( Bureau of Police Research and Development) 2020 report,
- General Data:
- The government has spent Rs. 1,566.85 crore in 2019-20 for expenditure and police training.
- It highlights that Backward Classes, Dalits and Tribals constitute almost 67% of India’s population, but their representation in police forces in the country is only at 51%.
- Vacant Posts:
- Over 5.31 lakh posts in police forces of different states and 1.27 lakh posts in (CAPF) are lying vacant.
- Scheduled Tribes:
- They form 8.6% of the population and have 12% representation in the police forces, placing them at a comparatively better position.
- 14% of all positions in police forces across the country were represented by Dalits at the end of 2019.
- According to Census 2011, Dalits make up 16.6% of India’s population
- Other Backward Classes:
- OBCs fare the worst on the representation front as, despite their 41% share in the population, they constitute only 25% of the police forces.
- Women are highly under-represented with 10% share in the actual strength of the police in the country, even though their share in population is 48%.
- However, their situation has improved considerably over the past years as the actual strength of women in police force has almost doubled since 2014.
- Women population per woman police ratio stands at 3,026 nationally which is very low.
- Poor representation of women in the police is posing serious challenges in dealing with crimes against women and women criminals.
- Other Ratios:
- Sanctioned Police Population Ratio (PPR) is 195.39.
- It is the number of police personnel per one lakh of the population which has declined from 198 in 2018.
- The UN-mandated police-population ratio is over 220.
- Sanctioned Police Area Ratio (PAR) per 100 sq km is 79.80.
- They not only have to look after law and order but are also given traffic duties, VIP duties, etc. This further reduces their inefficiency.
- Police has been reduced to a mere instrument in hands of politicians to further their ends. It is itself a major partner in the crime. To go slow on certain cases, to thwart investigation, to deal with political opponents, police are needed for the politicians.
- Training methods of police personnel are outdated. Even in this digital age where crimes are becoming sophisticated, focus is on physical fitness, etc. Cyber training is missing. This reduces their effectiveness to control crime.
- There are inefficiencies in criminal justice system and police is just one part of this system. Main party responsible for this mess is Judiciary’s lethargic performance. Even for minor cases there takes place hundreds of hearings, which unnecessarily increase workload of the police.
- Police is an exclusive subject under the State List. States can enact any law on the subject of police. But most of the states are following the archaic Indian Police Act 1861 with a few modifications.
- In India, there is overall low respect for police unlike that in developed countries like England and Japan. Corrupt image of police results in fear and resentment in public which in turn results non-cooperation.
SC Judgements in Prakash singh case
- Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police.
- DGP should be appointed through merit based transparent process and should secure a minimum tenure of two years.
- Setup 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 two years.
- Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) at the state level to reduce unwarranted influence on the police by the state. It also should lay down broad policy guideline and should evaluate performance of the state police.
- Setup a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of and below rank of DSP.
- Setup a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state and district levels to inquire into public complaints against police officers in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody.
Other SC directives
- State govt should send their proposals for the appointment of DGP to UPSC three months before the incumbent is due to retire. UPSC will prepare a panel of officers fit to be DGP in the State concerned. State shall appoint one of the persons shortlisted.
Thus there is urgent need to implement Police reform by consulting all stakeholders win collaborative manner.