Supreme Court wants states to act on police reforms

Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Monday said that it would see to it that its judgment on police reforms was implemented in its entirety and it was not left in limbo. We don’t want our judgment to lie in the courtroom,” the court said.

There should be uniformity in the implementation of its direction on police reforms, said the apex court special bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan.

The court was reviewing the implementation of police reforms by West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnakata and Uttar Pradesh.

We only want the time table for the separation of investigation from law and order duties of the police, the court said, giving the states four weeks’ time to indicate the approximate time they would require to implement the reforms in a phased manner.

A few years back, the apex court in a judgment issued directions for reforms and insulating the working of police in states from political influence.

The court said that the presence of the chief secretaries of Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh during the hearing was a message to other states that if police reforms were not implemented, the court would take a serious view of the default.

Since most of the states were facing problem in routing the appointment of their respective police chiefs and top police officials through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in the absence of the rules and regulations providing for it, the court asked Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to take instructions from the government.

The court earlier said that states would get the appointment of their top police officials channelised through the UPSC. However, the UPSC returned such requests, saying that it was not its mandate to preside over the appointments of top police officials in states.

The court took note of attempts by various state government to enact laws aimed at defeating the judgment.

The court observed that once it succeeded in institutionaliding its recommendations, it would proceed to incorporating broader reforms.

The next hearing concerning the implementation of apex court directions on police reforms will be held Jan 10, 2011.

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