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One Nation One Police concept explained, Why India needs urgent police reforms?

One Nation One Police concept explained, Why India needs urgent police reforms?

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  • GS 3 || Security || Tackling Security Threats || Police

Why in news?

  • Several state governments have passed Police Acts that are against the Supreme Court verdict on police reforms, and the Centre too has failed to legislate a model Act. Thus, there is a need to focus on the idea of one nation, one police.

About Police Reforms

  • Police reforms aim to transform the values, culture, policies, and practices of police organizations.
  • It envisages police to perform their duties with respect for democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law.
  • It also aims to improve how the police interact with other parts of the security sector, such as the courts and departments of corrections, or executive, parliamentary or independent authorities with management or oversight responsibilities.
  • Police come under the state list of schedule 7 of the Indian constitution.

Recent Issues

  • In recent times, India saw the unseemly spectacle of the Mumbai police commissioner accusing the state home minister of using the police as an instrument for extortion.
  • In West Bengal, the police have been a mute spectator to Trinamool cadres attacking those who voted against their party.
  • The CBI’s arrest of four senior TMC leaders may have been justified, but its timing caused serious misgivings.

Directions of the Supreme Court in PrakashSingh vs Union of India In 1996

  • A petition was filed before the Supreme Court that raised various instances of abuse of power by the police and alleged that police personnel performs their duties in a politically partisan manner.
  • The Supreme Court issued its judgment in 2006, ordering the centre and states to set up authorities to lay down guidelines for police functioning, evaluate police performance, decide postings and transfers, and receive complaints of police misconduct.
    • The court also required that minimum tenure of service be guaranteed to key police officers to protect them from arbitrary transfers and postings.

Article 252 of the Constitution gives Parliament

  • Article 252 of the Constitution gives Parliament the power to legislate for two or more States by consent and it lays down that such an Act shall apply to the consenting states and to any other states by which it is adopted through a resolution passed on that behalf by the House or, where there are two Houses, by each of the Houses of the legislature of that state.

Why is it difficult to implement one police one nation system? Is uniformity of Policing feasible?

  • Police reforms are still an unfinished task, fifteen years after the Supreme Court gave directives in the Prakash Singh case in 2006.
  • The Government of India has lately been talking of “One Nation, One Ration Card”, “One Nation, One Registry”, “One Nation, One Gas Grid”, and even “One Nation, One Election”. These ideas are laudable and would contribute to an integrated scheme in different facilities and networks across the country.
  • However, when it comes to police, we are confronted with a situation in which different police acts are enacted by different states. Police Acts have already been passed in eighteen states.
  • The attempt at uniformity should, however, take cognizance of local factors and special features.
  • Different police acts in the states-Every state has enacted a different Police Act, ostensibly in response to the Supreme Court’s directions on police reform issued on September 22, 2006.
  • Circumventing the Prakash Singh decision: The goal of these laws is to provide legislative cover for the existing arrangement and thus avoid the judicial directions given in the Prakash Singh decision in 2006. Police Acts have already been passed in eighteen states.
  • Absence of central guidelines: In the absence of any central guidance or directive, several states have passed their own Police Acts, flagrantly violating the Supreme Court’s directions.
  • No judicial action: For inexplicable reasons, the Supreme Court has not issued a contempt notice to any of the states for failing to comply with its police reform directives.

What should have government done?

  • The Government of India should have enacted a law based on the Model Police Act,2006with such changes as it may have found necessary, and the states should have mutatis mutandis adopted it.
  • That would have ensured a uniform police structure across the country. Several states have, in the absence of any central guidance or directive, passed their own Police Acts, blatantly violating the Supreme Court’s directions.
  • The Supreme Court has, for inexplicable reasons, not issued a contempt notice to any of the states for non-compliance of its directions on police reforms.
  • The least that the Government of India could have done was to legislate for the UTs and then prevailed upon the states where its party was in power to pass similar legislation. That way, we would have achieved some uniformity in 10 to 12 states.
  • Enacting a similar law in the other states could have been incentivized by linking their passage with the modernization grants made available to the states.

Need for reforms

  • Factors responsible for police and criminal crimes that evade the criminal justice system range from their political connections to police inefficiency.
  • This can also be expressed in the report of the Vohra Committee, which highlighted the connection between the functionaries of offenders, politicians, and government.
    • It claimed that the mafia network operates a parallel government, pushing the state apparatus to irrelevance, and suggested setting up an institution to deal effectively with the threat.
  • Need to decriminalize politics-There is also a need to decriminalize politics and carry out a variety of changes in the criminal justice system, including the changes of the police.
  • Instilling confidence of the people-To instill the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police more people-friendly.
  • To meet the democratic aspirations-the archaic police structure continues is not able to meet the democratic aspirations of the people. In recent times, we saw the unseemly spectacle of the Mumbai police. The police commissioner accused the state home minister of using the police as an instrument for extortion.
    • In West Bengal, the police have been a mute spectator to the state ruling party’s attack on those who voted against their party. The Centre, through a fiat, gave protection to all the MLAs of its party.
  • Lack of uniformity- greater uniformity was observed in colonial times for better policing. The Police Act legislated in 1861 applied to almost the whole of India.

Conclusion

  • Police’s concerns are the result of Indian political and social setup limitations. Police improvements are also required and the police department is expected to follow best practices. Aside from this, there is a need to create an ecosystem without further delay where police are an instrument of service to the people.
  • The police force needs to be freed from the stranglehold of the executive and given functional autonomy to enforce the rule of law.
  • Implementing Supreme Court’s directions in Prakash Singhcase that police must be service-oriented for the citizenry in a manner that is efficient, scientific, and consistent with human dignity.

Mains model Question

  • Discuss the One Nation One Police concept. Comment on why India needs urgent police reforms?

References