Being the only state in the country to have introduced reforms in the police force, the Kerala police files chargesheets in 98 per cent of its cases, and has more than 60 per cent conviction rate in all the police cases, Jacob Punnoose, former director general of police, Kerala, has said.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Better policing: Need for people’s participation,’ organised jointly by the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) here on Friday, Punnoose said that Kerala’s success in introducing police reforms would have never happened if it weren’t for the public involvement in getting the political parties to bring in the Act.
“It took five years to finally approve it. It was one of the longest tabled Bills ever. MLAs from different parties got together and discussed it before it was finally approved,” he mentioned.
Punnoose added that a total of 800 amendments were suggested to the Act, but in the end 150 or so were approved in the legislature.
Kamal Kumar, former Director of National Police Academy (NPA) said that the sincerity of introducing police reforms has been lost and that the spirit of the Supreme Court’s order in 2006 which directed state governments to bring in reforms has also been killed.
He added that, after the PIL was filed, states which opposed the SC’s orders had approached the apex court for revision of its order, but everything had been dismissed. “And a year and a half after the SC orders, a monitoring committee was set up to look as to how many states had complied.
I was a part of the commission, and what we found out was that in order to counter the order, 12 states had passed legislations seeking to free themselves from the ambit of the SC’s directions,” Kumar explained.
“Reforms in the police sector have been debated a lot but with little results to show,” said BP Jeevan Reddy, former judge of the Supreme Court.
He flayed the state governments for not following the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Prakash Singh’s case to bring in police reforms.
Maja Daruwala, director, CHRI, who has been advocating for better policing for over a decade felt that people in general experience lack of good policing everyday in their lives. “The ability of people to prey upon others is also a cause of concern. And when people don’t believe in the police, it leads to vigilantism,” she said.
“Even the police is not given their due. They need to be differently paid, and the system has to be differently structured,” she opined.