Sunday, August 1, 2010

NHRC chairperson favours continuance of death penalty

NHRC chairperson favours continuance of death penalty

Prakash Kumar New Delhi, Aug 1 (PTI) Amid continuing debate over whether death penalty should be abolished in India, NHRC chairperson K G Balakrishnan has favoured continuance of the provision which has a "deterrent effect" in a country where various types of crimes are on rise. The former Chief Justice of India noted that the Capital punishment is awarded in the "rarest of rare" cases and there are adequate safeguards provided in the law in this regard. Balakrishnan, while expressing his "personal opinion" and not the view of NHRC on the issue, said India has not reached the stage where death punishment could be abolished. "It is not proper for NHRC to give an opinion on death sentence. But, if you ask me personally... I feel personally that the death penalty should continue. It has got a very great deterrent effect on the society," he told PTI in an interview. When pointed out that several countries have abolished death penalty, he said, "In India, different types of crimes are on increase. The death penalty will have a deterrent effect on the people." His comments come amid a debate as to whether death penalty should be abolished in India. The remarks also assume significance as the government is still considering whether or not to execute the death penalty awarded to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Guru's mercy petition, along with 24 others facing death sentence, is pending with the government. Human rights groups, including the Amnesty, have been strongly pushing for repealing of the death sentence from the Indian Statute. In India, death sentence was last carried out in 2004 when one Dhananjay Chatterjee was hanged for rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Kolkata. "If you analyse (the cases), many of those who were given death penalty really deserved it in the cases imposed (on them)," Balakrishnan underlined. On the safeguards, the former Chief Justice said the Supreme Court has "enunciated" a principle that death penalty should be imposed in the "rarest of the rare cases only". Explaining, he said a convict is sentenced, after proper trial, by a lower court. The conviction can be challenged in a High Court and finally in the Supreme Court.Even then, a convict can seek mercy from the President. Balakrishnan pointed out that for the last several years, no criminal has been executed but favoured continuance of the provision in the Statute.

'Invoke SC/ST Act for anti-dalit crimes'

'Invoke SC/ST Act for anti-dalit crimes'

NEW DELHI: As the high court verdict in the Khairlanji rape-cum-murder case invites criticism from activists and intellectuals, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar has underlined that heinous crimes against dalits should be booked under the Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act.
Kumar said the Khairlanji massacre was a crime perpetrated by non-SCs on SCs which should have automatically attracted the Act, but did not. "Such instances should be booked under the PoA. That will take care of everything," she told TOI.
The speaker was replying to queries in the backdrop of the Bombay High Court ruling which has commuted the death sentence to the accused and also ruled that the gruesome crime against Bhaiyyalal Bhootmange's family was one of revenge and not of caste prejudice.
Kumar's concern that crimes against dalits by non-dalits should be booked under PoA seems to nail the root cause behind the prosecution's failure to convict the accused in such cases.
The Khairlanji FIR did not mention the PoA and it is believed to have weakened the case. The lax probe triggered an agitation after which it was transferred to CBI.
The HC verdict delivered recently has led to criticism as it not only commuted the death sentence given by the Bhandara court to life imprisonment but also reiterated the "no-caste-crime" view. Bhootmange plans to appeal against it in the Supreme Court. But observers are concerned that the court did not see caste as having played a role in the murder of four persons including the gruesome rape of two women.
This has been a sticking point. Even when the Bhandara court's death sentence in September 2008 was acclaimed as landmark in the history of crimes against dalits, Kumar, as Union social justice minister, asked the state government and the Union personnel ministry to appeal against the verdict.
The post-high court order scene remains as grim with the issue even finding mention in the meeting of the National Advisory Council headed by UPA chairperson and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on July 14. Narendra Jadhav brought the issue to the notice of the NAC chair and said the case had been weakened by the police failure to book the crime under the PoA.

NCW to pay harassed husband for initiating illegal criminal proceedings

NCW not empowered to initiate criminal proceedings, says Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court has awarded a compensation of Rs. 40,000 to a man who was off-loaded by immigration authorities from an aircraft here on the basis of a look-out circular issued by the NCW, saying statutory bodies are not empowered to initiate criminal proceedings.

The High Court said that the compensation award has to be equally shared by the National Commission for Women (NCW) and Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) for de-boarding Vikram Sharma, against whom no FIR was lodged in connection with a matrimonial dispute.

Mr. Sharma had approached the court alleging that the FRRO had acted illegally in off-loading and detaining him here in April 2008 at the instance of NCW where his wife had filed a complaint.

“This court is of the view that the action of NCW in writing to the DCP, FRRO for the issuance of LOC (look-out circular) against Sharma was without the authority of law. The consequent action of FRRO (which) resulted in the petitioner (Sharma) being detained at IGI airport on April 8, 2008 was also illegal,” Justice S. Muralidhar said.

The court asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to issue clarification orders within three months stating that a request for issuance of LOC cannot emanate from statutory bodies like NCW, NHRC as well as National and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights which are vested with the powers of a civil court.

“The NHRC, the NCW, the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) have not been vested with the powers of a criminal court and do not have powers to enforce criminal law,” Justice Murlidhar said.

“They should bring the necessary facts to the notice of law enforcement agencies like the police, which will then make a request for issuance of LOC upon an assessment of the situation and strictly in terms of the procedure outlined for the purpose,” he said.

Mr. Sharma had alleged that he was “made to stand in solitary confinement in a toilet” and his passport was stamped with the remarks “Off loaded-deported due to criminal complaint”.

The court while accepting the plea of Sharma ordered removal of remarks from his passport.

When the incident had occurred, the NCW was seized of a complaint against Mr. Sharma in which his wife had expressed apprehension that her husband might flee the country to avoid the mediation process pending before it.

The NCW had sent a request for issuance of the look-out circular when the petitioner expressed his inability to appear before it.

Mr. Sharma had submitted that the Crime Against Women (CAW) cell of Delhi Police had also issued an LOC against him on his wife’s complaint, but the same was later withdrawn after the case was transferred to Anti Extortion Cell of Delhi Police.

Proposed ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as a ground for divorce-‘Change in Act to go against women’

Proposed ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as a ground for divorce-‘Change in Act to go against women’

The Centre’s decision to approve the amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act by introducing ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’ as a ground for divorce has not gone down well with women’s groups. NGOs have called the Bill an attempt to introduce one-sided divorce in the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act.

Organisations such as Majlis, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Centre for Women’s Development Studies and Young Women’s Christian Association wrote to Congress MP Milind Deora saying, “A discussion on women’s rights to matrimonial property should go on alongside the discussion on irretrievable breakdown of marriage so that safeguards for women can be built into the provision.”

The NGOs fear men could misuse the amendment to abandon their wives. The letter said often husbands file for divorce on grounds of cruelty, adultery or desertion. Aware that proving these in court is difficult, men opt for a lump sum settlement with their wives. “Introducing the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage will take away this negotiating power from women,” the letter said.

Deora has forwarded the letter to Minister of Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily saying these groups be given a hearing before the Bill is passed. “I have requested the Law ministry to meet members of Majlis and take into account all concerns regarding the issues,” Deora said. The Bill is likely to be placed in Parliament in the next session.


also related update @

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Majlis Law <>
Date: Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 5:04 PM
Subject: Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage - Developments
To: Majlis Law <>

Dear Friends,

Good News - Our sustained campaign has managed to make a dent. We have an assurance from the Law Ministry that the Bill will not be tabled until women's organisation have had time to deliberate on the issue and can come back with constructive suggestions and recommendations.

New Date for Meeting - Our meeting in Mumbai is now postponed to 2nd August 2010 (Monday) as members of the Ministry of Law and Women and Child Welfare would also like to attend. We are happy that our voices will be heard by the government and we do hope you will make the new date.

We are still awaiting outstation travel approvals from NCW as well as confirmation on the final programme. Will send you details as soon as we hear from them.

Thank you for your support.


Audrey D'mello

Please find below the link to the article on IBM in Hindustan Times.

4, A-2, Golden Valley,
Kalina Market Road,
Kalina, Santacruz (East)
Mumbai 400 098
Tel: 022 26661252 / 26662394

Palash Biswas
Pl Read:

Court trouble for cop for not complying with orders

Court trouble for cop for not complying with orders

PANCHKULA: The local court witnessed high drama on Thursday when CIA incharge of Panchkula police, Karamveer Singh -- against whom bailable warrants were issued -- made an appearance. Though he was granted bail, the court initiated summary proceedings against him under section 350 of CrPC as punishment for non-attendance by a witness in obedience to summons.

Last month, district and sessions judge PL Ahuja had directed the inspector to appear before court for recording his statement as prosecution witness in a murder case. But he failed to appear. On June 15, the CIA incharge sent a request to court for seeking exemption, stating that he had left for Gwalior, Agra and Delhi to arrest some robbers.

Sources said the district and sessions judge had turned down his request and issued bailable warrants against him.
On Thursday, he appeared before the court and filed a bail application and also recorded his statement in a murder case of 2009.
But judge PL Ahuja initiated proceedings under Section 350 of CrPC regarding summary procedure for punishment for non-attendance by a witness in obedience to summons.

The court has fixed August 7 as the next date of hearing. Sources said after coming to know that proceedings had been initiated against him, the CIA incharge engaged a lawyer from Panchkula district court and filed a bail plea.
The CIA incharge and his staff had busted a gang of notorious robbers in Panchkula last week. The SP had even presented certificates to the team for its work.

Woman asked to compensate ex-husband for alleging impotency

Woman asked to compensate ex-husband for alleging impotency

By: Agencies
Date:  2010-07-27
Place: Harda

A local court has ordered a woman to give Rs 2 lakh as compensation to her estranged husband for alleging that he was impotent.

District and Sessions Judge Jagdish Prasad Parashar asked Vandana Gurjar to compensate her ex-husband Hemant Chhalotre, while delivering his judgement in a defamation case filed by the latter yesterday.

Hemant had argued that Vandana's false allegation had rendered him "unmarriageable" and sullied his prestige.

The two had tied the nuptial knot nine years ago but separated three months later, after Vandana returned to her parents home following marital discord.

She also lodged a complaint against her husband and in-laws at a police station in Bhopal alleging that they harassed her for dowry and further claimed that she could not have conjugal bliss with Hemant "as he was impotent".

A police case was registered against Hemant and his parents, but a local court acquitted them of all charges in 2004. Following this, Vandana filed a petition in a higher court seeking divorce pleading that Hemant was impotent.

The court accepted her petition and ordered dissolution of the marriage. Enraged on the charge of impotence, Hemant filed a defamation case against Vandana on February 10, 2006 seeking compensation.

Petitioner fined Rs.30,000 for frivolous suit

Petitioner fined Rs.30,000 for frivolous suit

NEW DELHI – Slapping a fine of Rs.30,000 on a petitioner for a frivolous suit, the Delhi High Court Thursday said such litigation clogs the wheels of justice.

Justice V.B. Gupta hit out at people who file meritless suits and said: “Any litigant, who indulges in mindless litigation and unnecessarily wastes the precious time of the court, should not be spared. He must pay heavy costs for wasting the time of the court.”

“It is well settled that frivolous litigation clogs the wheel of justice, making it difficult for courts to provide easy and speedy justice to genuine litigants. it has also been observed in a large number of cases that meritless litigation should be dealt with a heavy hand,” the court said.

The court passed the order on a plea of a petitioner who approached it 11 years after a trial court passed an order against him. The petitioner pleaded that the trial court had no jurisdiction to pass the order.

Taking strong exception to the plea, Justice Gupta said the objections raised were bogus and frivolous.

Statistical chicanery - CJI’s calculation puts arrears at 1cr cases, not oft-cited 3cr

Statistical chicanery - CJI’s calculation puts arrears at 1cr cases, not oft-cited 3cr

NEW DELHI: Over three crore pending cases in the trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court got reduced to just over one crore in a matter of seconds, thanks to a new practical way of looking at statistics by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia that virtually forced President Pratibha Patil to do a rethink.

Speaking prior to the President, who for years have been raising concern over the mounting arrears in judiciary, Justice Kapadia on Saturday took the bull by the horn and said: "My brothers judges, who include all trial court judges, have done an excellent job in maintaining a high disposal of cases. But, instead of getting compliments, they have been at the receiving end."

The CJI, who is as adept in economics and statistics as law, said: "For years I have been listening to speaker after speaker at Vigyan Bhawan slamming the judiciary for mounting arrears. They must know filing of a case today becomes a pending case tomorrow. But, is that an arrear? Statistics reveal that 60% of the cases pending in trial courts were less than one year old. So, if we take a realistic look at the arrears and exclude those pending for just one year, then the arrears are only one crore cases."
Speaking immediately after the CJI, Patil struck her usual note by saying: "The justice delivery system has been afflicted by explosion of litigation. Current figures reveal that the arrears in the high courts exceed 40 lakh cases, while in the subordinate courts it surpasses 270 lakhs."

But she did take into account the CJI's new method of reading statistics and said: "Now as the CJI has talked about the difference between arrears and pendency in cases, I think we will have to review these figures!"

But, she went on to say: "While a litigant has one life, litigation transcends generations. Towards curtailing waste of precious judicial time, we must re-engineer and simplify court procedures, which otherwise tend to make litigations unduly slow and protracted. Frequent demands and liberal grant of adjournments, filing multiple suits and similar tactics make judicial productivity sluggish. Timely pronouncement of judgments and quick execution of decrees would be beneficial."

Having been successful in inducing a rethink about court arrears among the audience at the seminar on judicial reforms organised by Confederation of Indian Bar, Justice Kapadia conceded that arrears of one crore cases were not a small figure and unveiled a three-track mechanism to deal with them.

Track-I would comprise "sticky cases" involving complex questions of law and would justifiably take a long time for adjudication. Track-II would include "subversive" cases, where one of the parties always tries to delay the hearing. Track-III cases would be those which have been delayed due to delay in serving of notices and summons.

Having captivated the audience with his brilliant statistical dissection, the CJI said everyone was crying hoarse about judicial reforms, but seldom did anyone talk about urgent reforms needed at the Bar and the process of legislation.

Amidst all the play of statistics and countering of charges, Justice Kapadia did not forget to ask the seniors among the advocates to contribute towards helping the judiciary in complex cases. "I do not see any senior advocate in the Supreme Court except on Mondays and Fridays," the CJI said obliquely hinting that the seniors were interested only in attending court on those two days when the volume of cases heard was large giving huge fees to them.


some more excerpts

New Delhi, July 31 – President Pratibha Devisingh Patil Saturday called for a fresh look at figures that put the number of case backlog in courts at a staggering three crore.

Patil’s call for the review of the figures on case arrears came in response to Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia’s contention that more than 50 percent of the cases counted as arrears were in fact filed only a year back.

He said that such cases could be described as pending cases but not as arrears. He said that distinction had to be made between arrears and pending cases.

‘As the chief justice of India has talked about the difference between arrears and pendency in cases, I think we will have to review these figures,’ the president said in her inaugural address at a two-day all India seminar on judicial reforms organized by the Confederation of Indian Bars.

She said that legal delays rendered the common man’s bid to seek justice a frustrating experience.

Patil during the course of her speech dealt with many issues including judicial accountability, archaic laws and the need to scrap or modify them.

‘There cannot be better governance without better laws and there cannot be better laws if antiquated ones remain,’ the president said.

As our democracy is maturing, public scrutiny of all state institutions including the judiciary has begun witnessing marked increase, the president said.

‘Judicial accountability and judicial independence should coexist harmoniously. There can be informed discussion on ways and means of ensuring judicial accountability,’ she said.

The president said that the congestion of courts and backlog of cases has been compounded by shortage of judicial manpower and low judge to population ratio.

She said that there was a need to augment the strength of the judiciary without compromising on quality. ‘Advance action needs to be taken to fill up existing and prospective vacancies,’ she said.

Earlier speaking on the occasion, Chief Justice Kapadia called for legislative, judicial and the bar reforms. He said that judicial reforms alone would not work.

The chief justice said: ‘You can’t have a chariot running on one wheel.’

The chief justice lamented that ever since the power that mandated consultation with the chief justices of the high courts before the appointment public prosecutors was withdrawn, the quality of government pleaders has gone down.

पति को नपुंसक कहा, देगी 2 लाख का हर्जाना

पति को नपुंसक कहा, देगी 2 लाख का हर्जाना

भोपाल।। 28 july 2010

मध्य प्रदेश में हरदा की एक अदालत ने हज्बंड पर नपुंसकता(इम्पोटेंसी )का झूठा आरोप लगाने वाली महिला पर दो लाख का जुर्माना लगाया है।

उसे यह रकम अपने एक्स हज्बंड को देनी होगी।
एक्स हबी हेमंत छलोतरे ने एक्स वाइफ वंदना गुर्जर के खिलाफ मानहानि का मुकदमा दायर किया था। सुनवाई के बाद डिस्ट्रिक्ट एंड सेशन जज जगदीश प्रसाद पराशर ने यह फैसला सुनाया।
हेमंत और वंदना की शादी करीब नौ साल पहले हुई थी, लेकिन तीन महीने बाद ही दोनों अलग हो गए थे। वंदना ने इसके बाद भोपाल के एक थाने में हेमंत और उसके परिवार के खिलाफ दहेज के लिए सताए जाने की शिकायत भी दर्ज कराई थी। इसके आधार पर चले मुकदमे में हालांकि हेमंत और उसके परिवार को अदालत ने बरी कर दिया था।
इसके बाद वंदना ने पति के नपुंसक होने का दावा किया और तलाक की अर्जी दाखिल कर दी। अदालत ने उसकी अर्जी स्वीकार करते हुए तलाक का आदेश दे दिया। झूठे आरोप के आधार पर बेइज्जत किए जाने के बाद 2006 में हेमंत ने मानहानि का मुकदमा दायर किया था।

news from china - कोर्ट ने गुस्सैल बीवी से पति को दी प्रोटेक्शन

news from china - कोर्ट ने गुस्सैल बीवी से पति को दी प्रोटेक्शन


बीवी की मारपीट से परेशान एक शख्स को चीन की एक अदालत ने प्रोटेक्शन दी है। चीन के न्यायिक इतिहास में अपनी तरह का यह पहला मामला है।

हे नाम के इस शख्स ने कोर्ट में गुहार लगाई थी। कोर्ट ने तुरंत फैसला सुनाते हुए उसकी पत्नी ली को आदेश दिया कि तलाक की प्रक्रिया पूरी होने तक वह और उसके परिजन हे से दूर रहें। कोर्ट ने स्पष्ट किया कि आदेश का उल्लंघन होने पर जुर्माना ठोका जाएगा अथवा उसे जेल भी भेजा जा सकता है।
ग्लोबल टाइम्स के अनुसार अदालत ने हे के जख्मों के फोटो तथा अस्पताल में उसके इलाज के दस्तावेज देखने के बाद यह फैसला सुनाया। हे अकेला शख्स नहीं है, चीन में कई पत्नी अपने झगड़ालू बीवियों से दुखी हैं।
चोंगछिंग इविनिंग ने इससे पहले खबर दी थी कि चीन के परिवारों में इस समय 30 प्रतिशत घरेलू हिंसा के शिकार हैं, जिनमें से 15 प्रतिशत पीड़ित पुरुष हैं।

'पति के घर में है हक, उसके पैरंट्स के घर में नहीं'

'पति के घर में है हक, उसके पैरंट्स के घर में नहीं'

प्रस ॥ नई दिल्ली
पत्नी अपने पति के घर में रहने के लिए हिस्सा तो मांग सकती है, लेकिन पति के पैरंट्स के घर में कानूनी तौर पर रहने का उसका

&lta href="" target="_blank">&ltimg src="" border="0" width="300" height="250" alt="Advertisement"/></a>

अधिकार नहीं बनता। अदालत ने याचिकाकर्ता महिला की उस दलील को खारिज कर दिया, जिसमें वह अपनी सास के घर में रहना चाह रही थी।
अडिशनल सेशन जज की अदालत ने कहा कि पति अपनी मां से अलग किसी किराए के मकान में रह रहा है। याचिकाकर्ता महिला ने दलील दी कि सास ने उसकी शादी से पहले ही वह मकान खरीदा था। ऐसे में उस मकान पर भी उसका अधिकार है, लेकिन कोर्ट ने इस दलील को खारिज कर दिया।
अदालत ने कहा कि महिला का अधिकार उसके पति के घर पर होता है और वह अपने पति के घर या पति द्वारा किराये पर लिए गए घर में रहने के लिए अधिकार जता सकती है या फिर पति की जॉइंट प्रॉपर्टी में रहने की अधिकारी है, न कि पति के पैरंट्स के बनाए गए घर में।
महिला ने मैजिस्ट्रेट के उस फैसले को चुनौती दी थी, जिसमें मैजिस्ट्रेट ने महिला को सास के घर में घुसने से रोक दिया था।

Resistance to reform: Key to better policing

Resistance to reform: Key to better policing

The Supreme Court’s slew of directives notwithstanding, the implementation of police reforms has proved to be an uphill task. The Chief Ministers are reluctant to enforce them as they don't want to lose their hold over the police.  How can the police be insulated from political interference and improve governance? An in-depth study

By Maja Daruwala

The problem with policing is too well known to be rehashed. More important is the solution. In democracies, the relationship between the police and the political executive is always close. Both are bound in the common enterprise of preventing and investigating crime, maintaining law and order and ensuring that society has a well provisioned, well functioning essential service that protects life, liberty and property.

The key to better policing lies in defining clearly the roles and responsibilities of the political executive (i.e. the bureaucracy and the people's representatives) and the police and making them know their limits of power.

Those who fear losing their death grip over the police sometimes deliberately like to create the impression that any rein on the unfettered exercise of will over the police will create an entirely independent and out of control police force. Ironically though, today's dysfunctional police-executive relationship has given us a force with very few limits on its power.

There is no question but that the political executive must always be paramount. But the relationship has to be symbiotic, not parasitic or dependent.

A suggested model for defining this relationship would read: “Responsibilities and independence of State Police Chief”

The supervision, direction and control of the police throughout the state shall, be vested in an officer of the rank of Director General of Police (DGP) designated as the state police chief.

A) The DGP shall be responsible to the Minister for

i) carrying out the functions and duties of the police;

ii) the general conduct of the police;

iii) the effective, efficient and economical management of the police;

iv) tendering advice to the Minister;

v) giving effect to any lawful ministerial directions.

B) The DGP shall not be not responsible to, and must act independently of, the Minister regarding:

i) the maintenance of order in relation to any individual or group of individuals; and

ii) the enforcement of the law in relation to any individual or group of individuals; and

iii) the investigation and prosecution of offences; and

iv) decisions about individual police officers.

C) The Minister may give the DGP directions on matters of government policy that relate to

i) prevention of crime;

ii) maintenance of public safety and public order;

iii) delivery of police services; and

iv) general areas of law enforcement.

D) No direction from the Minister to the DGP may have the effect of requiring the non-enforcement of a particular area of law

n The Minister must not give directions to the DGP in relation to the following:

i) enforcement of the criminal law in particular cases and classes of cases

ii) matters that relate to an individual or group of individuals

iii) decisions on individual members of the police

E) If there is dispute between the Minister and the DGP in relation to any direction under this section, the Minister must, as soon as practicable after the dispute arises,

i) provide that direction to the DGP in writing; and

ii) publish a copy in the gazette; and

iii) present a copy to the legislature

True, present Acts are hazy about how the police is to be 'supervised' and seemingly do not explicitly condition the political executive's powers. But underlying police manuals specify exactly how and by whom administrative powers will be exercised. Similarly, there is clear law that prohibits any interference in police investigations from any quarter. But all this is observed in the breach.

Judicious supervision has degenerated into bossism and the power to transfer, appoint, promote or suspend police officers is too often used as punishment and reward to bend the police until today 'control and supervision' has become something entirely different from what was originally intended.

Nevertheless, willy-nilly we are in the era of police reforms. After 30-odd years, the National Police Commission's recommendations have been dusted off. Multiple committees have spent endless hours culling out priorities. Under the chairmanship of Soli Sorabjee, the Ministry of Home Affairs has drawn up a brand new Model Police Bill for the benefit of lawmakers across the country. Civil society has polished it and is begging policy makers to pay attention.

Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily's Administrative Reforms Commission has added more suggestions to change the police force into a reliable and trusted police service. The ruling party's manifesto has recognised "the imperative of police reforms" and said "a clear distinction between the political executive and police administration will be made."

Even the Supreme Court has spoken and laid out a road map for reform. Its directions came nearly five years ago. Since then, every government has avoided compliance. Some have gone through the motions change while going about business as usual on the ground. Others have created stunted institutions designed to defeat intention. Yet others have legislated their way out from under the weight of obedience. And some have simply done nothing at all.

Meanwhile, everyday, in the absence of honest and law abiding policing, the security situation for country and individual is worsening. At the root of rotten policing lies the degree to which raw political power has been able to gain control over it. Weak leaderships have bowed low before illegitimate interference in the everyday running of the force and allowed informal but powerful influences to gain a large footprint in all police work. If policing is ever to improve this has to be rectified. The solutions are there. We need the political will.

The writer is Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, New Delhi


Cosmetic changes won’t do

Sankar Sen

THE demand for meaningful police reforms in India is an old one. Successive governments created many committees and commissions for nearly three decades. In 1979, the National Police Commission (better known as the Dharam Vira Commission) made a number of practical recommendations for police reforms which are relevant today.

In 1996, two former DGPs filed a PIL before the Supreme Court asking the court to direct the states to implement the Dharam Vira Report. But after a decade, the Supreme Court had given clear directives to the Centre and the states to implement the core reforms recommended by the NPC to insulate the police from extraneous pressures and influence. Despite these unambiguous orders, the state governments are dragging feet and betraying unwillingness to lose their stranglehold over the police.

The majority of the states have said that they support the spirit of reforms but objected to many of the directives of the court. Initially, the states, one after another, filed petitions in the Supreme Court asking for more time to implement the directives. On January 11, 2007, the Supreme Court considered the objections and concerns of the states, but said firmly that the process of police reforms must commence immediately. Unfortunately, the process of implementation of police reforms is still not visible in most states.

States like Gujarat, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have questioned the raison d' etre of State Security Commissions. They have brazenly stated that no unwarranted influence is at all exercised over the state police. They have also expressed the view that setting up a State Security Commission with binding powers will lead to the creation of a parallel body which is not accountable to the people of the states.

Further, a fixed two-year tenure for DGP, irrespective of the superannuation date, will block opportunities for promotion of other senior eligible officers who will feel demoralised. Most states have not also complied with the directives of the Supreme Court regarding the establishment of independent Police Complaints Authority at the state and district levels to look into public complaints against police misconduct. The state governments' stand is that the establishment of PCA will demoralise the police personnel and adversely affect their working.

The Soli Sorabjee Committee submitted its draft report to the government on October 31, 2006. But no meaningful steps have been taken so far by the Centre to enact a new law for the police in the Union Territories.

Many states have enacted new police Acts. A number of them have submitted in the Supreme Court that they are in the process of framing new police laws. On the surface, they appear encouraging. But a reality check on the ground will reveal that what is being attempted in many states is contrary to the spirit of instructions issued by the Supreme Court.

The new police Acts that have been passed and the Bills that have been readied have diluted the core systemic reforms stipulated by the Supreme Court. Some states have set up State Security Commissions and packed them with yes men and excluded the Leader of the Opposition. To retain political control over the police, they have made some cosmetic changes and not meaningful systemic reforms.

A three-member Monitoring Committee was set up by the Supreme Court with Justice K.T. Thomas, a former Supreme Court Judge, as its chairperson. It is mandated to examine the affidavits filed by the states. It will also examine the new police Acts passed by the states after the Supreme Court judgment of 2006 and find out if the Acts are in keeping with the letter and spirit of the apex court's directives.

The committee has not yet submitted its final report. Thus, meaningful police reforms in the country are stalled. But the reforms brook no delay. The country needs an apolitical, efficient and revamped police force to take on the forces of disruption and destabilisation. Tomorrow will be too late.

The writer, a former Director-General, National Human Rights Commission, is Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi

Status of Supreme Court’s directives

n Not a single state has managed to fulfil all the criteria prescribed by the Supreme Court with regard to the State Security Commission (SSCs). Most states have set up SSCs that do not reflect the court's criteria with regard to the composition, function and powers. States such as Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh are in complete non-compliance with this directive.

n Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland are the only states that have adopted the court's prescribed criteria with regard to the selection, tenure and removal of the Director-General of Police. A few states have only partially incorporated these criteria whilst several states such as Karnataka, Jharkhand, Haryana, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are not compliant with this directive.

n Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland are in full compliance with this directive which provides for a fixed tenure for officers on operational duties. While a few states have partially satisfied the criteria set by the Supreme Court, it is notable that the majority are not in compliance with this directive.

n Several states such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Sikkim have complied with the Supreme Court's directive to separate the law and order police with the investigation police. However, a majority of states have not fully implemented this directive.

n Most states have established a Police Establishment Board, but only Arunachal Pradesh and Goa are in full compliance with all the court's stipulated criteria in this regard. In contrast, Bihar is the only state which has taken no steps towards complying with this directive.

n No state government has established Police Complaints Authorities at both district and state level that fully comply with the Supreme Court's orders. Many states have established Authorities which only partially comply with the court's directive in terms of the composition, mandate and powers.

Many states — Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh have completely ignored this directive.