‘The police force has not been given enough autonomy and resources’

A national seminar on police reforms here on Sunday underlined the need for transparent and democratic policing to establish the rule of law. “Civil society has a great responsibility to assist the government in continuing with police reforms,” Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said inaugurating the day-long seminar. He said people should not only criticise policing but also help the government make things better.

Tripura High Court Chief Justice Deepak Gupta was critical of the fact that the police force had not been granted autonomy and resources which would enable it to become more accountable and free it from political control. He regretted the “deterioration in the standards of policing, the attitude of complicity among police chiefs and the rising incidence of law violations by policemen themselves.”

Justice A.B. Pal, Chairperson of the Tripura Police Accountability Commission, which organised the seminar, said the Supreme Court verdict on police reforms in 2006 remained a work in progress. “It is a destination towards which we are still proceeding and still in transit.”

Commission member Tapati Chakraborty said though Tripura was the first State in India to enact the Police Act, 2007, a review of the reform process at regular intervals was necessary.

Justice Gupta released a newsletter. Justice K.P. Balachandran, Chairperson of the Kerala Police Accountability Commission, and his counterparts from Assam, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Dadra & Nagar Haveli; Maja Daruwala, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; senior police officers and NGO representatives spoke.