Police reform in India has been a topic of discussion for decades, as the
country's law enforcement agencies have faced numerous challenges in terms of
accountability, effectiveness, and public trust. The need for reform has become
increasingly pressing in recent years, as incidents of police brutality,
corruption, and discrimination have sparked nationwide outrage and calls for
With the increasing incidents of crime, it is imperative that the Indian police
force is equipped to effectively address the security needs of the country's
rapidly growing population. In light of these challenges, it is imperative that
India undertake comprehensive police reform to modernize its law enforcement
agencies and ensure that they serve the needs of all citizens fairly and
Major issues with Police in India:
Here are some of the major issues with police in India that highlight the
exigency of police reform:
- Lack of accountability and transparency:
Many incidents of police brutality and misconduct go unreported and unpunished,
leading to a sense of impunity among officers.
- Inadequate training and equipment:
Police officers often lack the training and resources necessary to effectively
carry out their duties, leading to human rights violations and a lack of trust
in the police.
Corruption is widespread in the police force, undermining public trust and
hindering the effectiveness of law enforcement.
- Overreliance on force:
The Indian police has a history of using excessive force to control crime and
maintain order, leading to instances of police brutality and human rights
- Bias and discrimination:
There are instances of discrimination in the police force based on factors such
as caste, religion, and gender, which further undermines public trust in the
- Lack of representation:
The police force is often not representative of the communities it serves,
leading to mistrust and a lack of cooperation between the police and the public.
These issues highlight the need for comprehensive police reform in India to
modernize the country's law enforcement agencies and ensure that they serve the
needs of all citizens fairly and effectively
Police reforms initiatives:
- Committees and Commissions:
In India, several committees and commissions have been established over the
years to address the need for police reforms. Some of the notable initiatives
- The National Police Commission (1977-1981):
This commission recommended
measures to improve the functioning of the police and make it more accountable
to the public.
- The Padmanabhaiah Committee (2000):
This committee was constituted to review
the implementation of the recommendations made by the National Police Commission
and suggest further reforms.
- The Soli Sorabjee Committee (2000):
This committee was set up to review the
Indian Police Act of 1861 and suggest amendments to make it more effective.
- The Malimath Committee (2000):
This committee was constituted to suggest
reforms in the criminal justice system, including the police.
- The Mukherjee Committee (2006):
This committee was set up to recommend
measures for modernizing the police force in India and improve its
These committees and commissions have recommended several key reforms in areas
such as police accountability, transparency, modernization, and improvement of
working conditions. However, the implementation of these recommendations remains
a challenge and continues to be a subject of ongoing debate and discourse.
- The Direction of Hon'ble Supreme Court in "Prakash Singh V. Union of India"
In the case of Prakash Singh v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India
issued several directives for police reforms in the country. The court's
directives aimed to make the police more accountable and independent, and to
ensure that they function in a fair and impartial manner. Some of the key
directives issued by the court include:
These directives of the Supreme Court aimed to bring about transparency and
accountability in the functioning of the police in India and to ensure that they
serve the interests of the people and not those of the political class.
- Creation of a State Security Commission to ensure that the state
government does not interfere in the functioning of the police.
- Appointment of a Director General of Police (DGP) through merit-based
selection and fixing of a minimum tenure for the DGP to ensure independence.
- Separation of investigation and law and order functions of the police to
prevent them from being influenced by political or other pressures.
- Constituting a Police Establishment Board to decide transfers, postings,
promotions and other service-related matters of police officers of the rank
of Deputy Superintendent of Police and below.
- Establishment of a National Security Commission at the union level to
prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of Central Police
- Model Police Act, 2006
Here are some key provisions of the Model Police Act 2006 that relate to
police reforms in India:
- Separation of Law and Order and Investigation Functions:
The act requires the separation of law and order and investigation
functions, to ensure that the police can focus on investigating crimes and
maintaining public order.
- Establishment of State Police Board:
The act establishes a State Police Board in each state, which will serve as
the governing body for the police. The board will be responsible for
formulating policies and overseeing the performance of the police.
- Police Complaints Authority:
The act establishes a Police Complaints Authority at the state level, to
investigate complaints against the police.
- Reforms in Recruitment and Training:
The act requires the adoption of fair and transparent recruitment
procedures, and mandatory training for all police personnel.
- Use of Force:
The act lays down guidelines for the use of force by the police, and
requires the police to follow the principle of "minimum force."
- Code of Conduct:
The act requires the development of a code of conduct for the police, which
will outline the standards of professional conduct expected of the police.
- Community Policing:
The act recognizes the importance of community policing and requires the
police to involve the community in policing activities.
- Gender Sensitivity:
The act requires the police to adopt a gender-sensitive approach and to
ensure that women are treated with respect and dignity.
These are some of the key provisions of the Model Police Act 2006 that relate
to police reforms in India
Objectives of the reforms
The objectives of the various reforms taken for police reforms in India are
centered around improving the overall functioning and accountability of the
police system in the country. These reforms aim to bring about a more
transparent and efficient system, while also ensuring that the rights of
citizens are protected and upheld.
One of the main objectives of these reforms is to enhance accountability and
transparency in the functioning of the police. This is being achieved through
the implementation of measures such as regular performance evaluations, more
effective complaint mechanisms, and greater transparency in decision-making
processes. These reforms aim to create a more responsive police system that is
better equipped to address the needs and concerns of citizens.
Another objective of these reforms is to reduce political interference in the
police system. This is being done by establishing clear lines of authority,
reducing the role of politicians in appointments and promotions, and
implementing strict codes of conduct for police officers. These reforms aim to
ensure that the police are free to perform their duties without fear of
retribution or pressure from political actors.
The reforms also aim to improve the resources and training available to police
officers. This includes providing better equipment and technology, increasing
investment in training and development, and ensuring that police officers are
adequately compensated for their work. These measures aim to improve the
capacity of the police to effectively enforce the law and protect citizens.
Finally, the reforms aim to address human rights violations and improve the
treatment of citizens by the police. This is being done through the
implementation of stronger protections for human rights, increased sensitivity
training for police officers, and better mechanisms for addressing complaints of
rights violations. These reforms aim to ensure that the police are able to
perform their duties while respecting the rights and dignity of citizens.
Overall, the exigency of police reforms in India is driven by a need to create a
more accountable, transparent, and efficient police system that better serves
the needs of citizens. Through the implementation of these reforms, it is hoped
that the police will be able to more effectively enforce the law and protect the
rights of citizens
The following steps could be considered for police reforms in India:
- Independent and impartial oversight mechanism:
The creation of an independent oversight mechanism to investigate complaints
against police officers and bring accountability.
- Reforms in recruitment and training:
Streamlining the recruitment process to eliminate political influence and
ensuring that the training is focused on human rights, community policing
and impartial investigation methods.
- Decentralization of police:
Decentralizing the police force to improve its accountability and
responsiveness to local communities.
- Reformation of use of force policies:
Reforming use of force policies to ensure that excessive use of force is
avoided and that the police use force only as a last resort.
- Better working conditions and equipment:
Improving working conditions and providing modern equipment to police
officers to enhance their capacity to perform their duties effectively.
- Strengthening the legal framework:
Strengthening the legal framework to provide the police with the powers
necessary to tackle crime while also protecting the rights of citizens.
- Community policing:
Encouraging the implementation of community policing to improve
relationships between the police and local communities and to address
- Data collection and analysis:
Improving data collection and analysis to help identify areas for
improvement in the policing system.
Implementing these reforms would require sustained effort and cooperation
from all stakeholders, including the government, police, civil society, and the
In conclusion, the exigency of police reforms in India cannot be overstated. The
current system is plagued by several issues such as corruption, lack of
accountability, and an ineffective leadership structure. These problems have led
to a distrust of the police by the public and have hampered their ability to
effectively perform their duties.
The time for change is now and it is essential that reforms are implemented to
modernize the police force and restore the trust of the people in law
enforcement. This can only be achieved through a comprehensive approach that
addresses the root causes of the issues and implements sustainable solutions.
The future of public safety in India depends on it.
- Indrajeet Singh, A student of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University Lucknow (U.P)
- Ujeer Yadav, A student of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University Lucknow (U.P)