Police reform is the need of the hour pointed Mr. Nang-oo Sari Mukhla Nongrim

Shillong, August 19: Concerning the fake encounter and the police excesses towards the gross violation of human rights, police reform is the epicentre of talking points today.

The current style of policing was of a colonial origin dated back to the 1860s with the objective to suppress and tortured the citizens, who were against the British government.

Ironically, this style was being followed in post-independence India and no substantive reform was enacted. Although National Police Commission and Julio Ribeiro committee recommended police reform, the government failed to pass any concrete implementation for the same.

The act of policing and public order happened to be the State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, and the state government can make laws and amend if the government wishes to do so to reform these outdated laws and regulations.

Perhaps, in the current scenario and with the rise in custodial deaths and torture, police reform is the need of the hour to hold the police officers accountable in case of any gross violation of human rights. It is also essential to make it autonomous in its functioning and to limit the power of political executives in the transfer and posting of police officers.

However, in a constitutional democracy, a police force or security force is always placed under the direct command and control of the political executive. The political executive enjoys the power to transfer and post the police officers as they like. And the recent incidents of custodial deaths and questionable encounters is a direct outcome of the excessive politicization of our police forces.

Also, the abuse of powers, torture and use of force during an investigation by the police force needs to be done away with. So it is on this ground, police reform is the need of the hour to remind our police force to uphold their ethical values of honesty, integrity and compassion as they have been taught during their training. This in turn reaffirms their commitment to the constitutional values, rule of law and to constantly strive towards seeking truth and justice.

In fact, a series of reforms were recommended by the Supreme Court to help the Indian police shed its colonial hangover and to turn the police force into an efficient force that is free from politicization. But unfortunately, most of these recommendations were not implemented by the state governments.

Instead, the government strengthened its power to command and control the police force to the whims and fancies of the political executive and it placed them at their mercy. This setup of the arbitrary power of the political executive must be reformed and limited.

Stressing on reform, the state police functioning lacks autonomy and they usually function in a very opaque manner. It also does not open for any review or the review could happen internally. However, the public can’t place their faith in such internal accountability.

Moreover, the police department should have some form of independent accountability and such heavy politicization must be limited. Because at the end of the day the relationship between the police and the public can only be improved if such reform takes place, said Mr Nang-oo Sari
Mukhla Nongrim.

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