A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that the Judiciary is also a stakeholder in the process of police reforms as the scientific investigation by trained persons was an essential ingredient of the criminal justice system.
The statement came in the course of monitoring the implementation of its directions in 2006, in the case of Prakash Singh & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., wherein a Bench comprising of Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyam ordered that reform must take place. The states and union territories were directed to comply with seven binding directives that would kick start reform. These directives pulled together the various strands of improvement generated since 1979. The Court required immediate implementation of its orders either through executive orders or new police legislation.
The Bench directed the Chief of Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) to visit the Bench in its chamber, in order to discuss issues including the separation of investigation and law and order wing in the police.
The Solicitor General, representing the Centre and Bihar, defended the state legislation on police reforms saying adequate steps have been taken to ensure that certain class of offences was probed only by efficient senior officers.
The Bench had earlier urged the State Governments to elaborate on the actions taken in the last eight years, since the order on the issue had been passed.
Initially, the Court itself monitored compliance of all States and Union Territories. However, in 2008 it set up a three member Monitoring Committee with a two year mandate to examine compliance state by state and report back to it periodically.
THE SEVEN DIRECTIVES IN A NUTSHELL
Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to:
(i) Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police
(ii) Lay down broad policy guideline and
(iii) Evaluate the performance of the state police
Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years
Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years
Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police
Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police
Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct
Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organizations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.