As may as four states have filed petitions seeking review of the much talked about Supreme Court’s order on police reforms to make the police force across the country more effective, accountable and free from political interference.
When the matter came up for hearing, the court was informed that the states of Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab have filed review petitions against the September 22, 2006 order.
Various counsel, including Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh urged a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan to permit an open hearing of the review petitions but the court did not oblige them. Generally, review petitions are heard “in chamber” and “by circulation” and advocates are not allowed to argue the case afresh.
However, if the court allows an open hearing, the parties get a fair chance to argue their review petitions.
Meanwhile, the Centre and several other states and Union Public Service Commission expressed their reservations regarding various directives of the judgment and sought “modification” of the order.
The court fixed April 30 for hearing all these modification applications.
In its application, the Centre has sought a comprehensive modification of the Supreme Court’s order on police reforms expressing its inability to implement the directions in the present form.
It said the modifications were needed “in view of the far reaching repercussions of the directions, having regard to their important Constitutional implications, particularly concerning accountability of the executive wing of the Government.”
The Centre has sought changes in the court’s direction to set up National Security Council, inclusion of the heads of Central Para-Military Forces as permanent members in it, fixed minimum tenure of Director Generals of Central Para-Military Forces besides certain other points of the September 22, 2006 order.
The Centre had earlier set up a Committee on National Security and Central Police Personnel Welfare headed by the Union Home Minister with National Security Advisor, Cabinet Secretary, Union Home Secretary and Intelligence Bureau Director as its members.
But the court rejected it on January 11 on the ground that it was not strictly in accordance with its directions and gave time till March 31, 2007 for implementation.
Now, the Centre has said, “the nomenclature of the National Security Commission requires change as the name does not connote its function properly.” Further, the word ‘security’ has a much wider connotation than the coordination among the Para Military Forces and looking after their welfare, it said, adding the Committee should be renamed as “Central Committee for Para-Military Forces.”
The Government also sought modification of the direction relating to making the heads of Central Para-Military Forces as members in any such committee.