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Kanpur Encounter case and policing issues

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Kanpur Encounter case and policing issues

All the staff of a police station in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh — where 8 policemen were shot down by Vikas Dubey and his gang on Friday — are suspected of leaking information to the notorious criminal.

  • This incident bears the violent signature of a dysfunctional society and an alarming emaciation of governance in India’s most populous State. 

What this incident exposes?

Gangster Vikas Dubey is the symbol of the nexus between politics, crime and policing in many parts of the country.

The circumstances that went into the making of this incident and the response of the administration all point to the same morbid affliction that can be fatal to any democratic society — the collapse of the rule of law.

  • Criminal gangs shielded by politics and police forces that bend to caste, communal and political vested interests form a malevolent circuit that perpetuates itself and rewards its patrons.

Reasons for the present crisis in policing:

The police force is the coercive arm of the state often in direct contact with ordinary citizens. The quality of policing therefore has an outsized impact on the overall quality of governance.

  • But, Poor training, an alienating and dehumanising work environment, corruption and a lack of resources add to the crisis in policing.
  • Politicians in power often use the police the same way politicians out of power use gangsters. Not surprisingly, there are times when the police mirror in character the criminal gangs they chase down.
  • Questionable coercive measures such as collective punishment and criminalisation of political protest and suppression of freedom of expression have also been mainstreamed as regular policing tools.

Need of the hour- Smart policing:

‘SMART’ police force is Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained.

There is an urgent need to strengthen our Criminal Justice System and our grassroots level policing institutions;

  • to prepare our police to deal with the present and emerging challenges and
  • Strengthen its investigative capabilities and emergency response infrastructure.

Considering the multiple causes and their complex interdependencies associated with today’s policing issues, there is a realization that these challenges require broader, more collaborative and innovative approaches and would involve a range of coordinated and interrelated responses.

Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India:

  1. Constitute a State Security Commissionin every state that will lay down policy for police functioning, evaluate police performance, and ensure that state governments do not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.
  2. Constitute a Police Establishment Boardin every state that will decide postings, transfers and promotions for officers below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, and make recommendations to the state government for officers of higher ranks.
  3. Constitute Police Complaints Authorities at the state and district levels to inquire into allegations of serious misconduct and abuse of power by police personnel.
  4. Provide a minimum tenure of at least two years for the DGP and other key police officers within the state forces
  5. Ensure that the DGP of state police is appointed from amongst three senior-most officers who have been empanelled for the promotion by the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of length of service, good record and experience.
  6. Separate the investigating police from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the people.
  7. Constitute a National Security Commission to shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chiefs of the central armed police forces.

Besides, Various expert bodies have examined issues with police organisation and functioning over the last few decades. Its chronology as follows:

  1. National Police commission 1977-81
  2. Rubeiro Committee 1998
  3. Padmanabhaiah committee 2000
  4. Malimath committee 2002-03
  5. Police Act drafting committee 2005
  6. Second ARC 2007
  7. Police Act drafting committee-II 2015

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was the National Police Commission established?
  2. Ribeiro committee is associated with?
  3. Key recommendations made by Malimath Committee.
  4. Police under 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  5. Prakash Singh case is more popularly associated with?

Mains Link:

Write a note on police reforms.

Sources: the Hindu.