For a citizen’s police

GS1: Police Reforms (Executive)


  • The author talks about the Police Reforms.

Editorial Insights:

What’s happening?

  • On this day i.e. 22nd September, the SC has given historic judgment in Prakash Singh 2006 case by passing seven significant directions concerning the functioning of the police.

Lacunae in the system:

  • Along with prevention & detection of crime & maintenance of law & order.
    • A police station in India undertakes up numerous daily tasks from providing verifications to no objection certificates of different kinds to the citizens.
    • Ease of business means Police stations dispose of these requests in a transparent & time-bound manner.
      • But the procedures, in reality, are non-transparent & often timelines are blurred.
      • They encourage corrupt practices as can be seen in the Maharashtra corruption scandal.
  • The India Justice Report 2020 said that e-portals of various state police organizations that provide citizen-centric services have different performances.
    • While states like Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, etc. are doing well but it also mentioned that despite the push for digitization, no state offered the complete bouquet of services & users face numerous problems in accessing these services.
    • This showcases that Technology for service delivery to citizens has not been prioritized by the police leadership.
  • Though police made a good start at the beginning of the millennia due to the following reasons they have not moved beyond a point.
    • Police leaders lack the ability to understand the difficulties citizens face at the police station level.
    • Citizens fail to hold the police accountable for the non-use of technology.

Implications of a Failed Criminal Justice System:

  • Economic Implications:
    • The economic cost of the failed criminal justice system is reflected in the reluctance of foreign companies to set up ventures in India
      • Due to the lack of a quick settlement mechanism of disputes.
  • Social Implications:
    • As per the National Crime Records Bureau Report, 25k cases of assault on women, 12k rape cases & 4k dowry cases have been pending trial for 5-10 years.

Supreme Court Directives in Prakash Singh Case:

  • In 2006, Supreme Court issued directions regarding a 1996 petition, for the implementation of expert committee’s recommendations to prevent police abuse & misuse of police powers & the directions for Centre & State famously known as “The Prakash Singh Guidelines”.
  • State Security Commission:
    • Every state should constitute a commission that lays down policy for police functioning, police performance evaluation & mainly to curb political unwarranted influence on the police.
  • Police Establishment Board:
    • Every state shall constitute a police board that decides postings, transfers & promotions for officers below DSP rank.
  • Police Complaints Authority:
    • State & District level complaints authority needed to constitute for inquiring into allegations of serious misconduct & power abuse by police personnel.
  • Security of Tenure:
    • To protect against arbitrary transfers & postings, there is a need to provide a minimum tenure of 2 years for DGP at state & Chiefs of central forces.
  • DGP Appointment:
    • DGP appointment shall be taken based on service length, good record & experience, chosen among 3 senior-most officers empanelled for promotion by UPSC.
  • National Security Commission:
    • For shortlisting of candidates for appointment as Chiefs of central armed police forces, National Security Commission is required.
  • Separation Of investigation and Law & Order:
    • To ensure speedier investigation, better expertise & friendly police, there is a need to separate the investigation wing from the law & order wing.

Rationale behind the directives:

  • To reduce political interference in police functioning & rationalize the police performance evaluation system.
  • To reduce politics & corruption and increase transparency in police appointments, promotions & transfers.
  • Replacing the existing internal inquiries system & instilling public confidence in the police.
  • To enable key police officials to withstand undue political interference
  • To reduce the uncertainty of office & tenure for the DGPs by reducing arbitrariness & personal considerations of the ruling class in appointments.
  • For encouraging specialization in police force & upgrading the overall performance.
  • Increasing transparency & streamlining policing by speedier & scientific investigation.

What more needs to be done?

  • Implementation of Prakash Singh case directions in letter & spirit by all the States & UTs.
  • Investigation & prosecution need improvement & all criminal trials must be completed within a year.
    • This has to be accompanied by technology-driven service delivery.
  • As per IJR 2020, states need to invest more resources to upgrade their e-portals for providing basic services to citizens.
    • This is the major task that police leadership has to concentrate on without any political interference.
  • It is time to implement the Bureau of Police Research recommended detailed timeline for each service & level involved.
    • This is to ensure transparent & non-corrupt service delivery to citizens.
    • It will reduce the number of fruitless visits a citizen makes to the police station.
  • Along with the above, the leadership along with ease of use has to focus on the language of e-portals.
    • Vernacularization of e-portals has to be taken place.
  • MHA earmarked Rs 20k crore for the modernization of police.
    • It is time for the states to take up this crucial service delivery mechanism.
  • This overall can lead to achieving the objective of enabling easy access to select policing services.


  • The life of a common man in India can be transformed only when all the govt departments provide maximum information & service through their portals respecting the defined processes & timelines
  • It is high time that the unholy nexus between the criminals, politicians, bureaucrats & police needs to be broken. While taking steps in the direction of decriminalization of politics, parallelly govt needs to restructure the police system to build a robust criminal justice system based on justice Malimath committee recommendations.




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