Making most of the courts grace period

Updated: Jan 22 2007, 05:30am hrs
Having been granted a grace period to implement the Supreme Court's directives, the state government is gearing up to implement reforms in the state police administration.

"Since the Supreme Court has given a final deadline of March 30, 2007 for compliance of its directives, the state government is finding ways to implement the police reforms in the state, says a senior official in the state home department.

In the first phase, the state government has decided to separate investigation and law and order in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Though Orissa does not have a city with more than one million population, it is complying with the reforms process. It also proposes to set up a police establishment board to regulate transfers and postings.

In fact, two committees have already been set up for the process. While one committee, headed by the chief secretary and including the director general of police (DGP) and home secretary, recommends transfers of superintendents of police (SPs) and senior officials.

The state government has decided to separate investigation and law and order in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack

The other, headed by the DGP, recommends transfers of DSPs and ASPs. The state government is going to expand the scope and function of these committees. It is, however, finding it difficult to implement the directive regarding the formation of a state security commission. The government is also reluctant to fix a two-year tenure for DGPs and post SPs and officers-in-charge of police stations for at least two years. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has said at the state chief ministers' conclave with Union home minister Shivraj Patel in the Capital recently that some of the directives of the Supreme Court were difficult to implement. Almost 22 chief ministers echoed his apprehensions at the conference. They pointed out that the state's control over the police would diminish, leading to law and order problems.

However, many retired senior police officers in the state believe that reforms in the police administration would enable officers to do their duty.

One should thank the apex court, which has directed the Centre as well as the states to revise the 145-year-old Indian Police Act of 1861 and enforce reforms in the police force, says BK Tripathy, former inspector general of police.