Wednesday, 18 April, 2007

Immediate Reforms Needed in the Departments of Police and Judiciary

We have to first understand the most important and essential ingredient necessary for any developing country. A healthy tree needs water, oxygen, sunlight and minerals to grow. If any of these ingredient is inappropriate, the health of the tree suffers. If the tree is equated to a country, I would equate water, sunlight and oxygen to Defence, Law and order and Education. The rest of the components within a country are the minerals. Like the oxygen, water and minerals to a tree, so is the importance of a strong Defence, an effective Policing and Judiciary and Good Education to a country. Take away any of them a country cannot survive…it will perish.

While we are abundant in minerals in terms of intelligence, manpower, business sense, etc, we need to strengthen the other three important environmental ingredients. And the weakest is “Law and Order”, with Education also very close to it. Why is it so? Why is the common man afraid to go to a police station to lodge a complaint? Even those who dare to go to a police station to lodge an FIR, have to come back empty handed. Why is the police helpless in controlling mobs and how do mobs dare to carry out unlawful activities? Why do the murderers and goondas get tickets to contest the elections? These are some of the questions every Indian except the law breaker has in his mind. On one side India is moving ahead getting accolades for its business acumen and performance, and the other side we are moving backwards towards the raj of the goonda. Which India is going to succeed and thwart the other India? I see the later gaining ground.

The necessity of reforms in the police and judiciary has been realized by those responsible for running this country for quite some years. However, something is pulling them down from accelerating the process. The politicos want the police to let their flock do what they want. The police want the politicos for their promotions. This is a dangerous inter-interest. The goons come in between. They are the source for the politicos for money and muscle power. And so the goons have a friendly police. It’s a dangerous tri-nexus.

We have to set our priorities right. We have to understand the tools essential for the acceleration of our progress. According to me, the defence of one’s country must be very strong and on the topmost priority of any government. If you are safe from external threats, only then you can set your house right. The second priority must be to have a strong and fatherly policing structure with a fast and good supporting judiciary. If your family is well disciplined, Lady Prosperity is bound to embrace you. And similar is the case with the country. With no external threat, an upright backboned police and a quick delivering judiciary, the rest of the tools are bound to be strong and eventually spin the country to greater heights.

I have many a times listened to Mrs. Kiran Bedi, a jewel of our Senior IPS officialdom. She has been crying hoarse for Police Reforms. She has gone a step further by asking every Indian citizen to suggest ideas for reforming the Police department. The Padmanabhaiah Committee report is quite elaborate and gives a humane touch to the reforms. But I would like to add to it by recommending a slight change to the structure. I would recommend a centralized command and control structure. Have a National Police Chief...Like the Army, Navy and Airforce. However, unlike the three chiefs, he would be answerable to a commission called the Indian National Police Commission having 8 members; two senior retired judges appointed by the CJI, two senior IPS officers, two intellectuals nominated by the President of India and two elected MPs nominated; one from the ruling party and one from the opposition. The tenures of the Commission and the Chief has to be fixed and should have immunity from any changes/ transfers/ suspension. Only the President, on the recommendations of the CJI should be empowered to remove/ disband the Commission. The Commission should periodically review/ amend policies, address welfare issues and deal with promotions of senior officers. Every state should have it’s Police chief. And all these Chiefs would be appointed by the Indian National Police Commission. A similar State Police Commission should also exist with every state/ Union Territory which would be responsible to the Indian National Police Commission. With a centralized command and control, under an independent body in place, and the implementation of reforms as recommended by the Padmanabhaiah Committee report, I am sure we would have an effective and responsible police department. The states and the country as a whole can then concentrate on development issues rather than getting bogged down by the law and order issues.

Similarly the Judiciary also needs an immediate reform. According to recent media reports, there are approximately 30,000,000 cases pending in all courts and there is a shortage of about 3,000 judges. It is understood that most of the cases pertain to the government. Since the government is run by politicians and bureaucrats, many of them tainted, they prefer delay in justice delivery. Imagine cases running for more than 20 to 30 years. Who is getting justice or going to get justice?

The number of Judges need to be immediately increased. All proceedings of the courts need to be made time bound; say not exceeding 30 to 45 days. All backlog cases be resolved in a time bound manner by re-appointing retired judges. We have to understand that we have to reach a point where there is no backlog and justice is quickly delivered to every one. I am sure that with immediate reforms in both the police and the judiciary, our country can become the best in the world. We have everything else in us to become great except a strong, fatherly and independent Police and quick and fast delivering judicial system. The fear of the law and surety of justice to every man has to be created without delay or the day is not far off when India, our country is ruined by its own flock.

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