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Police reforms could have averted Nithari, says SC

'If checks and balances were there, Nithari would not have happened,' says the CJI, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 08:47 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday said if the states had implemented police reforms, incidents like Nithari killings would not have happened.

The observation came from Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal during submissions made by senior counsel Rajiv Dhavan on behalf of Uttar Pradesh Government on a PIL on police reforms.

"If checks and balances were there, Nithari would not have happened," the CJI, heading a three-judge bench said.

He also commented on the reluctance on the part of the police to register cases. "One problem in this country has been reluctance to register FIRs as this would reflect that the state's crime rates are going up," Justice Sabharwal said.

In fact Nithari was mentioned by Dhavan himself to drive home his point that it was difficult to separate law and order from investigation as ordered by the court in its September 22, 2006 judgment. He said the experiment started in 2000 in this regard was not successful in Uttar Pradesh and called for a detailed study in this regard.

The court had also ordered constitution of a National Security Commission, State Security Commissions, fixed tenure for police officers, procedure for selection of senior police officers like DGP and IGP, separation of law and order duty from investigation, setting up of Police Establishment Board and Police Complaint Authority.

Issued by a bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal, the order is aimed at checking political influence and corruption in police force and would remain in force until the Centre and states came out with proper laws incorporating the directions.

However, instead of implementing the apex court's directives the Uttar Pradesh Government informed the court that it has constituted its own Police Reforms Commissions on January 1, 2007 "to suggest reformative measures in police administration of the state within a period of six months."

Expressing "practical and operational difficulties" in implementing the Supreme Court's directives on police reforms, the Uttar Pradesh Government requested the court to "clarify" and "modify" its order.

Meanwhile, the court rejected the Centre move to set up a National Security Committee headed by the Home Minister, saying it was not in accordance with its order. It asked the Centre to implement the order by March 31.

It also dismissed states' plea to modify or review its direction on implementation of police reforms.

Observing that none of them objected to the recommendations of the Committee headed by Soli Sorabjee during the hearing of the matter, the court asked the state governments to implement a fixed tenure for police officers and set up Policer Establishment Board within four weeks.

However, it gave them time till March 31 for setting up of State Security Commission, separatation of law and order and investigation and Police Complaint Authority and asked them to place before it the compliance report by April 10, 2007.

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First Published: Jan 11, 2007 23:02 IST