A News Conference in Delhi finds Indian Police Reform in the Doldrums

A News Conference in Delhi finds Indian Police Reform in the Doldrums

On the occasion of the 10-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Prakash Singh judgment in 2006, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) partnered with the Indian Police Foundation (IPF) at a news conference today and called on states and the Centre to urgently improve police practices.

The Prakash Singh judgment is often considered a squandered opportunity to make police reform a reality in India.  The September 22, 2016, verdict included seven directives which ordered states to clean up their police forces.

Ms. Maja Daruwala, the director of CHRI, Mr Prakash Singh, the police officer and crusader for better policing, to whom the SC judgment owes its name and Mr. N. Ramachandran, president of the IPF spoke at the conference.

Ms Daruwala, said,  “A decade since the Supreme Court directed the states and union territories to comply with seven binding directives, both states and the Centre have dragged their feet to put in place mechanisms that would improve policing. Day to day interference in operational matters skews law enforcement, and creates insecurity and distrust of the police. No thought is given to creating a vision of policing that is suitable for a democracy, nor to improving management, ensuring accountability nor evaluating performance in a more reasonable way.” The Supreme Court judgment of 2006 she said, today seemed to be a mirage.

Mr. Singh said, “When the judgment was passed everyone thought a new chapter (in police reform) would begin and the police would become more people friendly.”

In fact, Mr. Singh went on to say, there has been a marked deterioration in the manner the police force is run.

Mr. Ramachandran said, “Structural changes in the police can be made in the police force by the police themselves.” However, he went on to point out that real change could only come about when there’s a public demand for change.

Tomorrow, September 23, CHRI and IPF will again come together to organise a national level conference at the Mavalankar Auditorium, Constitution Club of India at 5:00 PM. The conference will attended by prominent figures in Indian jurisprudence, civil society and the news media. A list of attendees is here.