Police Reforms

Under the Indian constitution, policing is a state power, which means that state governments have the responsibility to provide their communities with a police service.

Police is a state subject in schedule VII

Most state governments have a police law that adopts or reflects the basic ideas of the 1861 legislation.

The police organization in India in its present form is based essentially on the police act of 1861, which was legislated “to reorganize the police and to make it a more efficient instrument for the prevention and detection of crime”

Many committees have submitted several reports on police reforms but they generally went unimplemented.

Problems with existing policing system 

1)​The police have functional responsibility while remaining under the supervision of political executive.

2)political control of police by the political executive is not conditioned and is not kept within its legitimate bounds.

3)internal management systems are not fair and transparent

4)policing efficiencies have decreased in terms of their core functions

5)public complaints are not addressed properly and police accountability is comparatively less , they are addressed through an independent mechanism.

The police act 1861 still guides and governs our police system. The colonial mindset of police, the distrust people had for the police in British India has continued till date

So far we have seen either bad reforms or no reforms in making the police relevant to highly insecure India that is prone to various threats from both inside and outside its geopolitical borders.


The police act 1861, was based on a draft put forward by the 1860 committee. It was authoritarian in nature , coming as it did in the aftermath of 1857 sepoy mutiny.

This act remains in the force at the centre even today, under this act:

The police is largely unaccountable to civil society or other Democratic institutions, directly Officers who resist political interference are often subject to frequent transfers.


The national police commission appointed by the government in 1977 felt that far reaching changes have taken place in the country

But there has been no comprehensive review of the police system after independence despite radical changes in political, social and economic situations in the country”

In the course of the 10year long case, in 1998 the supreme court set up the Ribeiro committee​ which handed its reports in 1999.

This was followed by the Padmanabhaiah committee report in 2000 and eventually the police act drafting committee

In 2006, the supreme court of India delivered a historical judgement in prakash Singh vs union of India, instructing central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives that laid down practical mechanism to kick start police reform.

Directive one

Constitute a state security commision to:

1)ensure that state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police

2)law down broad policy guideline

3)evaluate the performance of state police

Directive two

Ensure that the DGP is appointed through the merit based transparent process and secure a minimum teute of two years

Directive three

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

Directive four

Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police.

Directive five

Set up a police establishment board to decide transfers, postings, primotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of deputy superintendent of police and make recommendations on postings and transfer above the rank of deputy superintendent of police

Directive six

Set up a police complaints authority at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of deputy superindent of police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at districts levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of deputy superintedent of police in cases of serious misconduct

Directive seven

Set up a national security commision at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of cheifs of the central police organisations with a minimum tenure of two years

After this, 14 states have passed legislation but these were mainly to circumvent the directives but not to implement them. Till today, the government has not shown its commitment to follow the directives of court in true letter and spirit


1)​The security of the society and the welfare of the people is dependent on the efficiency of the police.

2)to eliminate the undue political interference which led to the loss of autonomy of police.

3)to instill the confidence of the people in the institution of police by making police mote people friendly

4)to prevent the high handedness of police in the form of extra judicial killings

5)to continue security and growth with our high economic growth, the maintenance of law and order plays a vital role.

The recent example of haryana police during the jat reservation riots either due to inherent caste bias or hesitation of not getting support by the people further stresses the needs for reforms


1)challenges like police training and quantity of force along with the quality, the long working hours as well as the isolation of police force from the public in the form of separate living quarters should be looked into

2)police should be made an integral Part the society they live in

3)police reforms should no longer be delayed and the civil society should play its role for faster action by the government.

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