AP ignores SC fiat on police reforms: Report

India on 14 November 2013
Location : Hyderabad | Source : Times of India. Image Source: Flickr User

Andhra Pradesh fares dismally among the southern states in terms of implementation of the Supreme Court's directives on police reforms, according to a recent report tabled by an international organization on Indian states.

The report compares states on their levels of compliance with the apex court's key suggestions made in 2006 to improve policing across the country.

The seven SC directives issued in 2006, include the setting up of a state security commission, police establishment board, police complaints authorities, fixing the selection and tenure of the DGP and other officers, separate wings for investigation and maintenance of law and order and drafting a police Act.

Of these, AP has set up a state security commission only on paper and fixed the tenure of other officers as per a GO issued in 2007. A Police Act amendment bill, however, is yet to be drafted by the state government.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative's compliance report also mentions that even though GOs to set up the police establishment board (PEB) and the police complaints authorities (PCA) have been issued as per the directives of the apex court, both these bodies lack teeth and power whatsoever.

"In 2006, the government of India had circulated a 'model police Act' to be implemented by all states. AP unfortunately was one of the states which did not implement this. The state is not getting the police system a democracy deserves and it cannot survive on the current policing methods," said Kamal Kumar, a former director of the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.

Former top cops and experts said that political resistance and refusal to entrust the police with more power has stalled the implementation of the directives, which in turn has affected the quality of policing in the state.

Experts also said that failure of the state government to draft a new law means that the force continues to work on the lines of the archaic Police Act of 1861.

Even states like Assam, Chandigarh and Tripura have set up their PCAs much before AP issued a GO in this regard a few months back.

"There is obviously a lot of discomfort among political class to implement the SC's directives since their bureaucratic and political interference will be done away with. However, it is a misnomer that once the directives come into place; the police will be entrusted with supreme power. In fact, they will be subject to more powerful judicial scrutiny," said former DGP N Swaranjit Sen.

When asked why AP has fared miserably, the principal secretary (home) T P Das refused to comment on the subject.

Kerala has been touted as the model state for its pre-legislative consultative process. The Kerala Police Act, amended in 2011, involved large scale public participation including feedback from active civil organizations.

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