Panel's suggestions on police to be implemented

Bangalore July 3. The Task Force of the Institute of Contemporary Studies, which recently conducted a study of the criminal justice administration in the State, has recommended to the Government to evolve an enlightened and depoliticised personnel policy for the police administration.

Sources in the Government told The Hindu here on Wednesday that the Home Department was looking into the recommendations of the task force, and it would, in consultation with the police administration, implement them. Barring some of the recommendations, the implementation would not entail additional expenditure, they said, and added it would help make the criminal justice system more effective.

The School of Criminal Justice and Administration of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata, which is compiling reports on the criminal justice administration in the 28 States and seven Union territories, had requested the Institute of Contemporary Studies to conduct a study in Karnataka.

The institute constituted a task force comprising the former Director General and Inspector General of Police, S.N.S. Murthy, the former Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, P.P.R. Nair, the former Special Secretary of the Cabinet Secretariat, A. Arjunan, the former DGP, Gujarat, G. Ramachandran, the former DG and IGP, Karnataka, A.S. Malurkar, and the former Director of Prosecutions, Shankara Reddy.

The report of the task force was recently submitted to the Government. The Government, which has evinced keen interest in the study, is likely to constitute a team of officers drawn from the departments concerned to look into the report.

The task force has recommended that a depoliticised personnel policy should encompass all ranks and all areas of recruitment, training, postings, transfers, and rewards and punishments. The quality of performance of an officer in the area of crime management should be reflected in his annual confidential reports and be a criterion for advancement, placement, and recognition. The minimum educational requirement for the post of constable should be a pass in pre-university, and training for directly recruited gazetted probationers of the Karnataka State Police Service should include an emphasis on man and resource management, inter-personal relationships, public relations, human rights, and disciplinary procedures.

Referring to women personnel in the State police, it has said there is a need for recruiting more women, particularly in the ranks of sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspector, so that a large share of the burden of investigation and other mainstream police work can be borne by these officers. On the question of police transfers and postings, and the interference of politicians, the task force has said: "The question that needs to be asked is whether the right personnel are being posted to the right places, or whether any vested interests are coming in the way of professional policing. As political protestations and practice are often at variance in this regard, it would be worthwhile formulating a distinct and transparent policy of postings and transfers for this key department, and more importantly, observing it in practice."

On the criminal justice system, the task force has said that coordinated efforts should be made to ensure that only one or two cases are taken up for trial, and they are continuously proceeded with till their conclusion, obviating inconvenience to witnesses, police, and prosecutors. On prison reforms, it has said that with undertrial prisoners constituting a majority of prison inmates, legal aid and counselling must be provided and procedures for securing bail in the non-heinous cases simplified. Cases pending trial must be monitored closely and speeded up. "Video conferencing facilities may be arranged for linking courts and prisons to facilitate quick disposal of routine hearings like extension of remand, release on bail, etc. Women prisoners must be given due consideration in health, legal aid, and vocational training. They may be given weightage and concessions in matters of leave and remission of sentence in order to aid reintegration with their families. Special courts for women should also be set up," the task force has said.

Speaking to The Hindu on behalf of the task force, Mr. S.N.S. Murthy and Mr. P.P.R. Nair hoped the recommendations would be implemented and the report would not gather dust. "Strenous work has gone into the study, and it has all been done in the larger interests of society and the State," they said.

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