Though seven years have passed since the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment, most of the States have not complied with many of its directions to bring about police reforms.
Some States enacted laws and implemented the directions in part, prompting the court early this year to once again remind all of them of the need for compliance. The matter is still pending.
In its September 22, 2006 verdict in the Prakash Singh vs. Union of India case, the court sought to achieve two main objectives: functional autonomy for the police through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes and creation of a “buffer body” between the police and the government; and enhanced police accountability, both for organisational performance and individual misconduct.
The seven directions were:
a) Constitute a State Security Commission to ensure that the State government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police;
b) Lay down broad policy guidelines and
c) evaluate the performance of the State police.
2. Ensure that the DGP is appointed through a merit-based, transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.
3. Ensure that other officers on operational duties (including SPs and Station House officers) are also provided a minimum two-year tenure.
4. Separate investigation, and law and order functions.
5. Set up a Police Establishment Board to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of DSP.
6. Set up a Police Complaints Authority at the State level to inquire into public complaints against officers of and above the rank of DSP in cases of serious misconduct including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody, and at district levels to inquire into complaints against personnel below the rank of DSP in cases of serious misconduct.
7. Set up a National Security Commission at the Union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of chiefs of the central police organisations with a minimum tenure of two years.
J. VENKATESAN for TheHindu