Police Reforms: Gauhati High Court Seeks Compliance Reports From Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland & Arunachal Pradesh Govts On Apex Court's Directions
The Gauhati High Court on Tuesday directed the state governments of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to file affidavits regarding compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Manish Kumar v. Union of India and Others on police reforms.
The court had initiated the PIL suo motu in accordance with the Supreme Court direction asking high courts to monitor the prayers made in the above mentioned case.
The division bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan dealt with the each issue as follows:
A. Direction to all the States & Union Territories to constitute Police Commission to deal with allegation of police action, redressal of grievances of police and to make recommendations for the welfare of the police force.
The High Court was informed that in respect of the State of Assam, a Police Commission is already in existence and functioning.
The Court directed the Home Secretaries of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland to file individual affidavits within a period of two weeks stating in detail and also providing the timeline within which a Police Commission in the respective States would be constituted.
B. Directions to the States to formulate and implement the guidelines for prevention and control of violent mass agitations and destruction of life & property, in terms of the guidelines suggested by this Hon’ble Court in the decision Destruction of Public and Private Properties, In Re v. State of Andhra Pradesh and Others 2009(5) SCC 212.
The Court directed the respective State Governments of the State of Assam, State of Arunachal Pradesh, State of Mizoram and State of Nagaland to file their individual affidavits within two weeks stating as to what action has been taken for implementing the guidelines as provided by the Supreme Court and whether r there is any impediment in implementing the guidelines.
C. Directions to the States and Union of Territories to fill up the vacant posts in the Police and State Armed Forces so that the Police forces do not remain overburdened.
The court directed the Secretaries of the respective Governments in the Home Department to file separate affidavits stating in detail the present number of vacancies of sanctioned posts of personnel in the Police force and the State Armed forces that are available and as to why the vacancies are yet to be filled up and whether there is any legal impediment in doing so and also to further provide the timeline and the road map under which the vacancies would be filled up.
D. Directions to all the States and Union Territories to provide for periodic training and upgradation of police force and to fix the working hours for the police personnel.
The court noticed that a judgements with respect to the States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh has already been rendered for separating the investigation wings of the Police force from the general duty by identifying certain personnel within the Police force which would be more suitable for the purpose of investigation.
“Separation of the investigation wings of the Police is of paramount importance in public interest as well as for the security of the State and also for effective implementation of the criminal justice system. A judicial notice can also be taken that many number of criminal trials ultimately acquittals are resulted because of defective or shortcomings in the investigation and a specialized training of the investigation wings would do a lot towards public interest to mitigate such situation,” said the court.
The court directed that a very senior police officer of the Mizoram and Nagaland shall be personally present before the Court for a deliberation as to how separation of the investigation wings can be given its effect and be implemented.
The court further ordered that the senior police officers of all the four states shall be present personally before the court for further deliberation and directed to list the matter on February 10.
E. Direction to the Union of India to prescribe guidelines for the Media Reporting of the violent mass agitation and police action for prevention and control thereof.
The court directed the Union of India to respond with regard to the above issue.
F. Order or Direction restraining the States from drawing a presumption against the action of Police acting under the constitutional and statutory obligations.
The court said that would be deliberated during the subsequent hearing.
Case Title: XXXX v. In Re-State of Assam and 7 Ors.
Coram: Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan