THE STATE Government is mulling over implementing reforms in the State police administration by bringing in a new law, which could be a departure from the recent Supreme Court recommendations. A bill on the new law may be tabled during the budget session.
Since the BJP-led State Government has reservations on some issues, it is likely to make several changes while enacting the law in this regard. Also, it is reluctant to implement the Supreme Court’s recommendations in the present form due to legal and practical difficulties.
The State Government’s query is as to how it could be held responsible for maintaining law and order, but have no control over the police administration? A government source told Hindustan Times, “The apex court directives will lead to police Raj, which is unacceptable to the State.”
“Since the Supreme Court has given a final deadline of March 30, 2007, for compliance with its directives, the State is looking for ways to implement police reforms,” he added.
Says State Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahni, “As per the directive of the Supreme Court, we are working on a new draft.” Talking to the Hindustan Times, Sahni said that the State Government was in the process of enacting a Bill for Police Reforms. “The government is deliberating on the entire gamut of issues before coming out with the final legislation,” he added.
The Supreme Court had recently issued an interim order on police reforms for the states to follow until such time they came out with their own legislation on the subject.
The interim order had recommended that states should see that such officers—DGPs, IGs, DIGs and SPs—continued in office for a fixed period and that they could be removed before the end of their term only if a committee constituted to decide on the matter agreed with such action.
The State Government has some apprehensions about fixed tenure for the director general of police (DGP), as it would hamper the promotional prospects of subordinate officers. “It may lead to demoralisation of the cadre,” a senior official said. However, the recommendation of fixing tenure of police officers is likely to be implemented in the State with some minor amendments, the officer added.
He said politicians had reservations about implementing police reforms. For example, the government has a problem with constituting a state security commission, since it has to appoint an Opposition party leader as one of its five members. Also, the police would report to the commission thus reducing the importance of the Cabinet, home minister and chief minister.
“Three models for the state security commission have been suggested. In two models, the chief minister is not included, while in another model there is no involvement of the home minister. Ironically, in all three models, the leader of Opposition will be a member. This is unacceptable to the State,” added the source.
State officials argued that it would be inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution to make the police machinery independent and directly accountable to the people through the state security commission. Sources said that the State was, in fact, considering the formation of a state security commission or council as an advisory body whose recommendations would not be binding on the state.
The State, however, has agreed to comply with a few of the apex court’s suggestions like separation of investigation and law & order wings in its police force and constitution of a complaint authority. As far as the formation of a state police complaint authority is concerned, the State is contemplating constitution of these authorities at division level.