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Police reforms: SC posts hearing for next week

Most of the states have sought time to file their response but Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have voiced opposition, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 01:14 IST
Satya Prakash
Satya Prakash

The Supreme Court on Thursday fixed next week for hearing the objections raised by various states on its order on comprehensive police reforms even as northeastern states like Sikkim and Manipur complied with its directions.

The matter was mentioned before a Bench headed by Chief Justice YK Sabharwal by advocate Prahaant Bhushan on behalf of petitioner Prakash Singh, on whose PIL the order was passed on September 22 last year.

Bhushan said that most of the states had not implemented the order and sought more time and that the court should consider the issue at the earliest. The Bench directed that the matter be taken up next week.

Most of the states have sought time to file their response but Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have voiced opposition to the apex court's directive aimed at insulating the police force from political interference.

The Gujarat government filed a fresh application requesting the court to modify the directions.

"The directions are in direct contravention of Constitutional scheme of allocation of powers as enshrined in the Constitution.

"The Constitution has specifically allocated ‘public order’ and ‘police’ to states. The directions, therefore, impinge on the federal structure of the constitution and undermine its basic structure," it said in its application.

It also opposed the involvement of UPSC in the process for selection of senior police officers saying, "this direction would not be in conformity with statutory provisions".

The Andhra Pradesh government too has requested the court to modify its order citing "practical and legal difficulties" in inforcing the directions.

On the directive to constitute a State Security Commission comprising the chief minister, leader of the opposition and others, it said any such set up would mean "that the state government would be denuded of its power of superintendence over the state police besides being contrary to the existing law."

Asserting that the legislature's control over the police administration cannot be diluted, it submitted that any move to include the Leader of the Opposition in the proposed State Security Commission would have "disastrous results."

Raising a constitutional issue, it said if the SSC's recommendations are made binding on the state government then it will not be able to discharge its responsibility of maintaining law and order situation, which is the responsibility of the state cabinet that is accountable to the state legislature.

Andhra Pradesh said the apex court’s order presupposes that the state government exercises undue influence on the police and the state police also acts under the undue pressure of the government and are not acting in accordance with law which is not correct in every case. Setting up of SSC as watchdog will also demoralise the police force in the state, it submitted.

Several other states as also the NCT Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh have expressed their inability to implement most of the directions while majority of them have sought further time beyond the deadline of December 31, 2006 fixed by the court.

The Centre said that it has already set up a committee on National Security headed by the Union Home Minister, which would be responsible for the preparation of selection panels for the appointment of the Chiefs of Central Para-Military Forces. A Central Police Personnel Board has also been established to review the issues pertaining to the service conditions of the CPMFs.

It further informed the court that it has circulated a model Police Act among the states for their consideration.

On a PIL filed by for Uttar Pradesh DGP Prakash Singh, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India YK Sabhaharwal had issued a series of directions to the Centre and the states to reforms in the police machinery with a view to check political influence and corruption.

It had ordered constitution of a National Security Commission, State Security Commissions, fixed minimum tenure and procedure for police officers, procedure for selection of DGP, IGP and other senior officers, separation of law and order duty from investigation, setting up of Police Eastblishment Board and Police Complaint Authority.

The court’s order would remain in force until the Centre and states came out with proper laws incorporating these directions.

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