Police Reforms since independence:

More than 600 commissions and committees were appointed by the govt to review the working of police force and suggest measures to improve their efficiency level. 

Immediately after independence, Gorewala Committee looked into the aspect of training. It was followed by Santharam Commission which analysed the reasons for corruption. First ARC also analysed the working of police force and submitted various reports. National Police Commission (NPC) was appointed by Janta Govt to look into the aspects of policing in India. From 1979-81, NPC made far reaching and promising recommendations concerning the functions, procedures and perceptions of police force in India and Indian system of justice in general. It submitted a total of 8 reports with the concluding report proposing a new police act to replace Indian Police Act of 1861

Govt also appointed various committees including Padmanabhan CommitteeRibeiro CommissionMalinath Committee to suggest reforms in criminal justice system.

In spite of recommendations of various commissions and committees, major structural reforms were not introduced within the police force because of lack of political will on the part of executives. This forced the judiciary to intervene and direct the central and state govts to bring out reforms in the police organisation. In the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case, on 26th November 2005, Supreme Court passed a judgement directing the govts to implement the reforms within a time bound manner.

The following are the reasons why in spite of recommendations of various committees, police reforms are yet to be implemented in an effective manner within the country:

1. The reason for govt neglect of police reform is not lack of funds but lack of political will.

2. Any reform process results in decentralisation of power and neither the political establishment nor the police force at the top level are willing to reduce their power in favour of lower personnel.

3. Most of the state govts have expressed practical difficulties in implementing the recommendations of SC as their implementation would result in erosion of authority of state. The state would no longer be controlling the police force and their activities.

4. It was felt by the state that by making these recommendations mandatory and time bound, the judiciary had stepped into the domain of executive. In order to ensure law and order, states must have complete control over police force and this control is taken from the state govt and is given to other organisations creating rival power centre within the state.

5. States have also expressed their unwillingness to set up federal commission for investigation as they felt that these new institutions would result in curtailment of power in matters of law & order for the state govts.

6. Recommendations of ensuring minimum tenure for DGPs and the involvement of UPSC in the selection process will neither be practiced nor necessary as police is state subject under the 7th schedule of the constitution.

7. The recommendation of SC infringed on the federal structure of the constitution and undermined its basic nature according to state govts. Union govt has also expresses its reservations in setting up a National Security Commission to co-ordinate the activities of various central agencies involved in the maintenance of law & order. It felt that creation of such commission would result in duplication of work as the Union Home Ministry is the nodal agency to ensure better co-ordination between these organisations.

Conclusion: The 3 organs of the state- legislature, executive and judiciary have achieved limited success in solving the problems of police personnel within the country. In order to ensure effective implementation of police reforms, people must be aware about their rights and should be in position to exercise them in an independent and fearless manner. This is possible only when civil society, NGOs and media acting together in making the people realize their rights and police personnel their responsibilities. 

Any reform process initiated by the people has better chance of succeeding as there will be less opposition to them because of mass approval. Vested interests in the society can delay the reform process but cannot deny the reforms. Executive will be compelled to implement reforms if the demand comes from its people. With an active and vigilant judiciary, the system can ensure transparency and accountability within the police force.

Some Appreciation Please!