Where Is Police Establishment Board?
Have formed it: Govt; Experts differ
Srinagar, Sep 22: While the Jammu and Kashmir Government claims to have complied with the Supreme Court directive on establishment of Police Establishment Board (PEB), the institution is yet to be made fully functional.
According to the apex court directive, delineated in Prakash Singh case of 2006 on police reforms, there shall be a Police Establishment Board in each State which shall decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The Establishment Board shall be a departmental body comprising the Director General of Police and four other senior officers of the Department. “The State Government may interfere with decision of the Board in exceptional cases only after recording its reasons for doing so. The Board shall also be authorized to make appropriate recommendations to the State Government regarding the posting and transfers of officers of and above the rank of Superintendent of Police, and the Government is expected to give due weight to these recommendations and shall normally accept it. It shall also function as a forum of appeal for disposing of representations from officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above regarding their promotion, transfer, disciplinary proceedings or their being subjected to illegal or irregular orders and generally reviewing the functioning of the police in the State,” the apex court said.
While the state government has created a Police Establishment Board (PEB) through a Government Order, experts say the powers of the Board are not binding and it cannot make recommendations regarding the Superintendent of Police and above. “Even with these deviations it is uncertain whether the Board has been set up at the ground level and is functional,” says Maja Daruwala, Director of the New Delhi-based Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), a non-governmental organization working for police reforms.
According to Maja, there is concern that the Boards will operate in the usual ‘closed door’ culture, communicating only with the political executive, with no efforts from either the police or executive to spread and promote public awareness of the existence and mandate of the Boards. “Considering the huge deficit in public trust of the police, and the universally held perception that the police protect their own even when officers are facing charges of serious criminality, publicising the efforts of the Boards may go some way to alleviate the public perception that the police does not enforce discipline within its ranks,” she told Greater Kashmir. “Conflict ridden Jammu and Kashmir has in the past reeled from large-scale public protests on precisely this point. While J&K does present an extraordinary security environment, it is safe to argue that the trends in police criminality are the same across the country. The Court lists these direct violations of the rights of citizens at the hands of the police as unauthorised detentions, torture, harassment, fabrication of evidence, malicious prosecutions, etc. It is this level of violence and disrespect for fundamental rights that characterises policing in the minds of the public, and most especially for the poor and most vulnerable.”
The CHRI believes that any implementation of the Supreme Court directives must be underpinned with the express purpose of building public trust in the police – across all levels of society. “While keeping in mind that it is an internal police body, it is strongly recommended that the state prioritise focused efforts towards publicising its plans for the Boards, by posting all orders on its website, informing the press of all developments, releasing the names and ranks of the officers chosen for the Boards into the public domain,” Maja said.
To ensure that decisions related to career advancement are not made by just one officer, the Police Establishment Board will be composed of the Director General of Police and four other senior officers of the police department. The Model Police Act clarifies the fact that the four other officers should be the .four other senior-most officers within the police organisation of the state.
According to CHRI, subjective appointments, transfers and promotions within the police force lead to influence peddling and patronage on the one hand and uncertainty, fear and demotivation on the other.
The Court assigned the Board as an appeals forum for officers of the rank of SP and above, to challenge promotions, transfers and disciplinary orders and also “illegal or irregular” orders. “Its is important to point out that it need not have taken a directive of the Supreme Court of India for this manner of body to be set up; on the face of it, it is nothing more than an internal administrative mechanism to regulate departmental administrative matters. The very fact that this order had to come from the Supreme Court, and still has not been implemented by state governments even after being ordered by the Court, acknowledges that there is a systemic and severe problem of political interference in policing which is deeply entrenched and very resistant to reform,” Maja said.
The Court in the judgement stresses on the "phenomenon of frequent and indiscriminate transfers ordered on political considerations as also other unhealthy influences and pressures brought to bear on police".
“The Police Establishment Board will, in no way, diminish the authority of the Chief Minister or the Home Minister. On the contrary, it will greatly help the Chief Minister and the Home Minister in conveying the message of fairness and non-discrimination, and they can always intervene in exceptional situations,” Maja said.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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