The supreme Court on Friday ordered sweeping reforms in the country's police administration to keep the force above political interference and corruption.
The reforms include a minimum fixed tenure for DGPs and other senior officers, the setting up of state security commissions, the separation of investigation from law and order, and the establishment of a police panel to decide transfers and promotions.
A bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal set December 31 as the deadline for implementation of the directions and asked the central and state governments to file compliance affidavits by January 3 next year.
The order came on a public-interest petition filed by former Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh and former CBI joint director NK Singh 10 years ago.
Justifying the overhaul, the court said there had been no comprehensive review of the police system since Independence. Although the National Police Commission had recommended changes in 1977, none were implemented.
The court directed each state to constitute a state security commission — to be headed by the chief minister or the home minister — to ensure that the state government does not exercise influence on state police. The DGP will be its ex-officio secretary. “The other members of the commission shall be chosen in such a manner that it is able to function independent of government control,” the court said.
On the tenure of senior police officers, the court said a DGP should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years. But the state government in consultation with the state security commission can remove him if he is convicted, incapacitated or breaks the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
The court recommended the same tenure and checks for IGPs, SPs and other officers.
It ordered the setting up of a National Security Commission to prepare a panel of officers from among whom the chiefs of central forces will be selected. They too will have a fixed tenure.
Former top officers welcomed the reforms and said honest policemen will now get the stability they require. Prakash Singh told HT: "The SC directives will make a world of difference if a police officer wants to do a good job." They put in place a mechanism that will give an honest officer enough strength to stand straight in the face of political pressure.
Former CISF director-general KM Singh said, "It gives honest officers the stability they and their families need."