The brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old woman and the resultant public anger that found its manifestation in the protests on the Raisina Hill has sparked off a heated debate that whether some aspects of city policing should be under direct control of the state government.
Experts believe that the elected government should have a bigger say in city's law and order management and policing to make it accountable to citizens, who does not have a redressal mechanism outside the police system.
The police in Delhi, unlike other states in India, are under direct control of the Union home ministry through the lieutenant-governor. The elected representatives have no role to play in the force's functioning. The arrangement is justified with the explanation that Delhi is a territory of the Union government with a legislative assembly and not like other states in India, where law and order is a state subject.
But the chorus over making Delhi Police accountable to the local government in at least 'some way' has gained currency ever since CM Dikshit sought the right to make the police accountable to the Delhi government for its day to day functioning, including law and order.
She has to bear the brunt of public anger against the police without having any control over the 80,000 strong force.
"We should not reject outright the demand of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit," said Prakash Singh, former Uttar Pradesh police chief. "The government should discuss the issue and find a way out to make Delhi Police accountable to locally elected representatives."
Former Delhi chief secretary Shailaja Chandra provided a way out.
She said traffic police, crime investigation and law and order, which effects day-to-day life of citizens, can be under the Delhi government whereas VIP security and policing in New Delhi Municipal Council area can remain with the Central government.
"Such a system would improve people's confidence in the city police," she said.
Maja Daruwalla, Director of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, agreed with Chandra's suggestion but added that there should be adequate safeguards to prevent politicisation of the police.
"Police should understand the aspirations of local people," she said, while seeking overall reforms in policing.
Former Delhi Police commissioner Ajai Raj Sharma, however, felt that Delhi Police should remain with the Central government with some sort of accountability to the local government. "The police chief should communicate with the chief minister and meet requirements of the local government," he said.