Sunday July 22, 2018
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#FightBribeGetBricks: Despotic behavior of Delhi Police is due to lack of accountability

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By Ishan Kukreti

Law and order are the basis on which a city functions and police is the main player in this process. It instills fear in the heart of criminals and makes the masses feel safe. However, the video floating on social media of a Delhi Traffic Police personnel hitting a woman full-force with a brick, has raised prominent questions on the character and accountability of Delhi Police.

The rude and crude Delhi Police

However, this isn’t a new thing. Delhi police has been under the scanner a lot of times for custodial deaths, refusal to file FIR, asking bribes etc.

According to the statistics released by the Public Grievance Cell, as many as 26 complaints are filed against Delhi Police daily. Last year 2,186 complaints were filed against Delhi Police. Majority of these were related to rude behaviour and bribe demands. Surprisingly, more than 60% of the complaints filed are still pending, with no action being taken against the defaulting official.

What’s Wrong?

A major reason for the despotic behavior of ‘friendly’ Delhi Police is lack of accountability.

Right now the police in Delhi is under the Central government as is the case with all Union Territories.  However, given the population and size of Delhi, managing the largest metropolitan police force of the world puts an immense burden on MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs). The fact that the Home Ministry is doing a sloppy job is palpable in the complaints against Delhi Police and their pending status, along with all the recorded and unrecorded instances of police brutality in Delhi.

The law governing police in India is an archaic British Law, Indian Police Act, 1861. Since then, apart from a few inconsequential changes, the ‘Inspector Raj’ has been continuing unhindered.

National Police Commission was constituted in 1979 which has time and again given relevant recommendations to the government for improving the condition of police, but no change has been initiated yet.

Even the Supreme Court’s judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India (2006), had directed the Centre along with the states to initiate police reforms. Nine years since, the matter has yet not been taken up in any serious manner.

Court’s guidelines, focusing on achieving functional autonomy of the police (through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a “buffer body” between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability (for organizational performance and individual misconduct) could have acted as a revitalizing force for the department, but in the utter unwillingness of the government, they haven’t found a substantial say.

How about Delhi Police under Delhi government?     

Needless to say, for a UT of the size of Delhi, the control over the police force is not an unjustified demand. Handing the force over to Delhi government would not only bring in more accountability but will also cut down the red-tapism in the force.

Moreover, the chief minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal is ready to bear the burden of the department. The centre is not able to do the same and hence it should keep aside its political reasons and bring Delhi Police under Delhi Government.

 Start Police Reforms  

It’s never too late to initiate a progressive change. The Supreme Court directives have been gathering dust for a long time now and now the government has a reason to take them up again.

The government has a treasure trove of guidelines and recommendations by Supreme Court and the National Police Commission, which it has chosen to turn a blind eye to for so long. If it decides to break its lethargy and procrastination a lot of positive changes can be brought about in the police force, not only in increasing its efficiency but in also making it more accountable.

The given condition of force is such that the people are more scared of the police than the criminals, filing FIR is just a perfunctory job as nothing is ever retrieved, Delhi Police constables are seen harassing bikers on the roads.

It won’t be wrong to say that the people have lost their faith in the police and today’s incident just goes on to show that they are not wrong in their assessment.

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)