Reform of the colonial Police Force in India.


If the best things about India is its Democracy, plurality, openness, justice (eventually) and its booming economy....then one of the worst things about it has to be its police forces. This fact is openly accepted by Indians generally who experience it on a daily basis, and by International monitoring organizations alike. I wrote about them with sad awe in the mid 1990's as part of my Masters, as an annex to India's new Human Rights Commission.

My own Grand father served in the colonial Police force. The Indian police force as it is now was created by the British Raj, and indeed should Kipling channel forward in time to 2010, he might be surprised by how India has changed since his time, BUT he would still essentially recognize and "appreciate" the "modern" Indian police force, its ethos, uniforms, MO, organization and quaint Anglicized rankings and names.(IG, OC, IGP........).

The British were out to loot and destroy India and attain the maximum profit from their colony. They were quite successful in this endeavor killing 30 million Indians between 1769--1943 (last year of the Bengal Famine), whilst transferring $1---2 trillion worth of Indian assets to London.

The Macauley Brown Sahibs who run India NOW have continued with this habit of looting, though one must say the repression is not so bad (except save in Pakistan, where the looting and repression of the common people has reached colonial proportions) The British are on standby in Afghanistan with 10,000 troops should Pakistan require rescuing.

In order to do the above and get away with it the East India Company first and later the British Raj used several "tricks":

(1) Propaganda stating that British rule in India would be efficient and effective. Civilize the natives, and uplift the masses. Of course total bollocks...between 1815, by the end of the Napoleonic wars, where the UK became more cocky and confident until 1919, at the end of WWI real living standards in India took a nose dive, though there were some variations from state to state.

(2) The next tier of legitimating control was through British law enacted solely by them, for their benefit without consulting Indians. A lot of it was in reality ignored by Indians who went about their daily business without really interacting with the British. But in critical areas British law did affect Indians in a big way.

(3) The next tier of control was the colonial police with the IB. It was a "colonial" police force so the main character of it was repressive, designed to cower the natives into submission, while the British busied themselves with exploiting the natives, and enjoying themselves in their separate exclusive clubs.

(4) The final tier of control was the Indian Raj army, which would be used in trouble spots which the police could not control. The Indian Raj army was used in many "police actions" within India between 1757---1947.

It is thus a shame that "Shining India" "Rising India" hasn't had the time, inclination, energy, resources or simple political will to reform one of the key sectors of the state, which lets face it is remarkably important .1.2 million policemen and women in the country, playing a critical role in the criminal justice system of the country, and even the civil justice system in the country, and one could argue many other spheres of Indian life.....a high % of Indian policemen are criminals in uniform which makes life miserable for many Indians who must face their criminality and extortion rackets.....after 63 years of independence.

Having a colonial Raj police force in a modern country is just not on.

There are clear limitations on what the Supreme Court can do, despite their superior apolitical foresight. They are not an administrative body with serious resources, but are an advisory body, with legal clout. The problem of the Indian police have to be addressed by the politicians.

All that is required is for the government to take the recommendations from the SC as an initial precis, and then cobble together a commission consisting of legal experts, judges and senior police of repute and then act on such a report with directives from the Union government with set funds from the center, based on merit and benchmarks set/achieved in each and every state.

The "complexity" of Indian society, with not a few problems requires a modern police force that can deal with the modern challenges of the 21st century from both within and without, NOT a colonial police force. This fact the Macaulay Brown Sahibs from Doon who run India now must acutely appreciate.

Generalized points:
  • Raise standard pay from 3500 rupees to 10,000 rupees. This will reduce the % of "black money" police earn through their criminal activity. By monetary definition ALL Indian policemen are criminals, but society accepts that they can earn money in "other ways". Unfortunately there are no boundaries of what constitutes "other means". Whether its mass murder, mass fraud, organized crime, terrorism, fake encounter......the Indian policeman in the most colorful Bollywood style are involved by one way or another in such high crimes. They are thus not a social asset but a social burden, more trouble than their real worth.
  • Require that all policemen must be university graduates from a recognized institution. Levels of professionalism, discipline and criminality tend to be less with recruits who are better educated.
  • Set a target of 40% females in the police force. Women look at social problems in a different way then men. Criminality in females is far far less than in males.


No state has implemented any of SC's police reform directions: CJI

Times of India.

No state has implemented a single directive of the more than four year-old apex court judgment for ushering in radical reforms in the police set up which is still functioning more or less in its colonial avatar, said the Supreme Court with anguish on Monday.

Resistance to mould the police organisation to the dynamics of society and change of role with time in spite of several expert committee reports had virtually forced the SC to take up a PIL by former police officer Prakash Singh and issue directions on September 22, 2006, relating to appointment, transfer and transparency in the police force, which has through the decades remained firmly under the control of governments.

Right at the beginning of the hearing on the PIL, a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan said the Justice Thomas Committee has given a rather bad report card relating to the implementation of the SC judgment.

In the past four years too, the SC was confronted with the reluctance of a majority of the states and the Centre to implement the radical police reforms mandated by it.

In the forefront of opposing the reforms on Monday was Tamil Nadu, which cited its recent bitter experience in the Madras High Court quashing its decision to appoint a woman officer as the director-general of police on the ground that it did not conform to the SC judgment on police reforms.

The persistence in opposing the implementation of the reforms made the SC to ask amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran to prioritise the directions in the 2006 judgment so as to ask the states to implement them.