J. Venkatesan

“Delhi Police (Amendment) Bill, 2010, needs thorough overhaul”

“In its present form can not bring in qualitative improvement”

NEW DELHI: Contending that the Delhi Police (Amendment) Bill, 2010, does not comply with Supreme Court directions, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has said that the Bill needs to be thoroughly overhauled and re-moulded into a single comprehensive new law.

In a statement, the CHRI said nearly four years after the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case had directed all governments to take immediate steps to implement police reforms, the Union Government in consonance with the Lieutenant-Governor's Office had drafted the Delhi Police (Amendment) Bill. However, “the Bill does not comply with the Supreme Court's directions issued in 2006. Further the Bill does not have many recommendations of committees and commissions.”

The statement said the CHRI analysed the draft Bill along with the two related office memorandums issued by the Union Home Ministry and found that even taken together they considerably diluted the composition, powers and functions of important bodies the Supreme Court had directed to be set up such as the Security Commission, the Police Establishment Board and the Police Complaints Authority.

It said “if properly composed, mandated and resourced these bodies along with certainty of tenure for police personnel would create non-partisan police plans, evolve new rational parameters against which police performance can be evaluated, ensure fairness and transparency in police transfers and provide Delhites with a robust independent complaint redressal mechanism against police misconduct.”

“This,” the CHRI said, “would give a fair chance to Delhi residents having the police that they want and deserve. Presently, however, in the absence of high policing standards Delhi remains an unsafe city. It accounts for nearly 17 per cent of all the crime in India and 31 per cent of all the rapes across the country. With one in every ten policeperson having a complaint against him, the police itself appears to be part of the problem. The opportunity to change this is at hand and a radical change in policing is the need of the hour. A comprehensive new police law, rather than piecemeal legislation, offers the Central Government the opportunity to provide the Capital with a model of policing law that other States can copy.”

The CHRI urged the Centre to create a comprehensive new law for Delhi based on an improved version of the Model Police Act and enact it only after it had been widely publicised and debated.

In its present form the proposed amendment could not ground the changes vital to bring in qualitative improvement into the Delhi policing system.