THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 06 November 2019 (Police reform is possible, but the political executive has failed to make it happen)

Police reform is possible, but the political executive has failed to make it happen

Mains Paper 3: Defence and security
Prelims level: Model Police Act in 2006
Mains level: Police reforms and consequences

Context

  • “Namumkin Ab Mumkin Hai, Swachch Bharat, Ayushman Bharat, Electricity – Ujjwala and Sukanya Yojana and so on.
  • An area where even what was mumkin (possible) has not been achieved — it is about reformative changes in the police with a view to transforming it into an instrument of service to the people.

Background

  • The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment in 2006, clearly said that “the commitment, devotion and accountability of the police has to be only to the rule of law” and that “the supervision and control has to be such that it ensures that the police serves the people without any regard, whatsoever, to the status and position of any person while investigating a crime or taking preventive measures”.
  • It is a great pity that even after 12 years, there has been only partial and, in some states, farcical compliance of the directions.
  • The Police Act Drafting Committee headed by Soli Sorabjee had prepared a Model Police Act in 2006.
  • Besides, Article 252 of the Constitution gives Parliament the power to legislate for two or more states by consent and lays down that such an Act shall apply to the consenting states “and to any other by which it is adopted through a resolution passed in that behalf by the House or, where there are two Houses, by each of the Houses of the legislature of that State”.
  • It is ironical that while the British India had one police Act for the entire country, we are confronted with a situation where every state has a different Act with sharp differences in
    essential features.
  • The prime minister SMART police a police, which would be sensitive, mobile, accountable, responsive and techno-savvy.

Way forward

  • There has hardly been any follow up action and only some cosmetic steps were taken to augment the manpower and infrastructure of the forces.
  • New India its policing remains mired in a colonial structure.
  • The total strength of state police forces is 2.46 million and there are about 25,000 police stations and outposts across the country.
  • We need to understand that stable law and order provides the foundation for sustained economic development.
  • A healthy democracy also needs a healthy police.
  • In fact, if police is not able to enforce the rule of law and is constrained to take directions from persons of questionable antecedents at the helm, it will be the beginning of the end of
    democracy.

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    General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1) "Ashtapradhan" was a popular term used in the medieval period of Indian History. What does the term mean?
(a) The term signifies 8 important literary and cultural court personalities during Great Cholas.
(b) The term was used for the most important court luminaries during the reign of Akbar.
(c) The term was used for an administrative officer overseeing 8 departments during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya.
(d) The term was used for the 8 ministers during the reign of Shivaji.

Answer: D
Mains Questions:

Q.1) Police reforms require structural changes making the establishment more independent and resistant to external influences. Comment.


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