The Andhra Pradesh government has written to the Union home ministry for “clarification” on when it would amend the service rules that govern IPS officers enabling the state to fix a two-year term for an officer posted as the director general of police (DGP).
Chief secretary PK Mohanty wrote a letter to this effect on Wednesday and spoke to his superiors in the home ministry seeking a reply on the issue so that when he presents the case of the state in the Supreme Curt on July 31, he could make use of it.
The chief secretary’s letter was in pursuance of the Supreme Court asking the chief secretaries of AP and three other states to submit reports on the status of implementation of police reforms initiated in 2006.
“For us to implement this recommendation, amendment to the rules is required. We have written to the home ministry to this effect,” Mohanty told Express.
In 2006, the Supreme Court acting on a petition filed by former DGP Prakash Singh for a direction on implementation of police reforms, issued guidelines to states as to how to go about it.
The main guidelines are: Fixed tenure for an IPS officer posted as DGP; constitution of a state-level security commission to prevent police from becoming authoritarian; insulation of the department from political interference; and separation of investigation from enforcement of law and order.
Fixed tenure for the DGP could be fixed only when an amendment is made to the service rules of IPS officers. As for other recommendations, orders have either not been issued, or if issued, there was no follow-up action on them.
For instance, in May, the state has constituted a state-level security commission with home minister as its chairman. The other members of the commission are chief secretary, principal secretary (home), secretary (law) and a retired judge of the High Court nominated by the government. The director general of police will be its convenor and secretary. The necessary bill was passed by the recent monsoon session of the Assembly. However, the government is yet to appoint a retired High Court judge to the commission. It is said the chief minister has been busy since then and the commission will start functioning as soon as the appointment is made.
Officials say the state was much ahead of others in implementing the reforms. “For transfers, we have a committee which takes transparent decisions. Similarly, to make decisions that affect people, the security commission has been constituted now. In 2009, we had a similar committee,” an official in the state home department said.
The committee constituted by the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy was known as the AP Public Safety Advisory Committee, with KVP Ramachandra Rao as its chairman.
There was widespread criticism those days that the committee, though intended to defend the government in case the Supreme Court wanted to know why reforms were not being implemented, was in fact meant to provide a position to KVP Ramachandra Rao who was a bosom friend of the late YSR.
Some bureaucrats at the state secretariat say some of the reforms, as suggested by the Supreme Court, would not serve the purpose for which they were ushered in. “How can you prevent political interference in transfer of police officers? Even to transfer an inspector, you have no freedom since politicians always impose themselves upon us,” one senior officer said.
Also, he said total insulation of the police department or to decontrol it from political leadership is also not advisable. The department has to be accountable to the government.