Tuesday, January 16, 2007

POLICE SUPREMACY

From 1st April 2007, Jana Reddy will have nothing to do. No, that’s not an April fool day joke. The Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh will join his counterparts from other Indian states in the unemployment line, as the new Supreme Court guidelines on police administration kick in.

Not many citizens are aware of the real impact of the new directions of the apex court that have to be followed to the T. It will, in one stroke dismantle the eponymous politician-police relationship, which has become the bane of our society.

The judgment calls on states to implement rules relating to fixed tenure for DGPs, IGPs, SPs and SHOs as well as setting up of Police establishment boards to deal with transfer and posting of personnel. This part of the judgment will have to be implemented in four weeks, that is by January end.

The Supreme Court has also directed states to implement by March 31 the directions relating to setting up of State Security Commission, separation of police force for the purpose of maintaining law and order and investigations, and setting up of police complaint authority.

It was an innocuous petition filed by Prakash Singh, a former director general of BSF that has resulted in a tsunami of a judgment. Not many know about the genesis of this petition filed by Mr Singh. The tough ex cop, was the man in charge of the enquiry on the Alipiri bomb blast that almost cost C B Naidu his life. At the time of submission of the Alipiri report, Mr Singh made some suggestions, which were just unceremoniously dumped in the dustbin by the state government. That irritated Mr Singh to no end, and he filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking for an overhaul of the police setup.

In fact, Andhra Pradesh was among the states that strongly objected to the initial directions of the court and filed strenuous objections. The judges of the Supreme Court were caustic in their remarks and dismissed the plea of the states with disdain. What has got the goat of the present political setup in Andhra Pradesh and other states is the fact that the leader of the opposition will have the say in senior level police appointments. Imagine, Chandrababu Naidu being a part of the team that will decide on who the next DGP will be!

It is the posting of police personnel, right from constable level to DGP that politicians enjoy doing the most. Many corrupt police officials lobby their political masters for a posting, which has the requisite glamour. The politicians know that these police officials will do anything for them. Others, more honest do not care for the political setup and are often shunted to loop line postings.

The threat – "aisa jaga bejunga jahan paani bhi nahin milta" (I will transfer you to a place where you will not even get water to drink) is often used against policemen by self-seeking politicians. From small time political chamchas, to big time leaders, everyone revels in this brazen act of political power. The result is the creation of a unique mai baap culture.

From now on, policemen need not fear that. They can go about doing their job without being scared of extraneous considerations. Their fixed tenures will take away any threat of transfers. The same policemen who used to salaam good-for-nothing politicians and kowtow their illegal orders, will now not even care a damn for them. That’s the problem for the politicians.

Will all this turn policemen into absolute dictators? No. The police complaint authority as envisaged by the court will provide instant relief to those find themselves victimized by the men in khakhi.

The separation of the investigation and law order duties, will hopefully lead to better investigation of cases and timely prosecution of the accused.
The state is talking about filing a review petition in the Apex court without realising that the Supreme Court has said in its judgment that it will not entertain any more petitions in this matter. Implement the court orders first.

With no policemen to control or transfer, Jana Reddy, the third senior most minister in the cabinet will now have to look for another portfolio. Any suggestions on which ministry he should ask for?

Write to us at vikram.apmedia@gmail.com

5 comments:

RJ said...

The September 22 judgement that called for reforms was widely reported. The January 11 judgement dismissing the States' plea seems to have got buried. Thanks for bringing it into the spot light

Anonymous said...

Vikram,
This is a wonderful piece of analysis on the impending scenario you created that will come to be seen once the Supreme Court judgement takes effect.
I would love to see the day when police stations look more friendly to the ordinary people including women, when one does not shiver in the pants even to cross a police station let alone enter it for help, when the police personnel like to work for the people rather than the political bosses.
Jana Reddy can still retain his post and need not look for another portfolio. He can confine himself to ensuring a state free of political corruption, intra-party rivalries, inter-party killings and such crimes. The welfare of people including women and children, law & order situation and general crimes can best be left to police to handle, who will execute these resposibilities if there is no political interference.
I have one more suggestion to clean the environment. Withdraw all the personal security to VIPs and VVIPs, and leave them to fend for themselves. Soon everything will fall in line and everybody will turn into a saint if only to save their skin!

zeus said...

If and only if the reforms are ever implemented!

Anonymous said...

you people are not realising the consequences of such verdicts in the long run. when you look at the larger picture, such verdicts kill the spirit of democracy. what if the burocracy or judiciary goes berserk. where is the corrective mechanism? politicians - inclding good and bad - have to go back to people for their permission to continue with their work/policies at least once in five years if not earlier.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

This reminds me an Akbar-Birbal story. As you must all be aware, Akbar once got a corrupt official red-handedly and asked for suggestions to change the officials corrupt attitude. Every one in the court gave too many suggestions but it was Birbal alone who said corrupt people are incorrigible. Akbar got angry over Bribal's attitude and asked him to prove. Birbal suggested him to send him to some river base and give him a job - to count traffic of boats in the base.

The official reported to his new duty. Everyone were anxious including Akbar about how could he do corruption while counting boats' traffic.

After a while, Birbal took Akbar to the place and proved his argument. The corrupt official by then started collecting money from all the boatmen stating that he was appointed by the king to collect money from all those boats that touch the shores.

Sorry, I took a little bit of space but just sharing my thoughts.