Civil service refers to the body of government officials who are employed in civil occupations that are neither political nor judicial.
The importance of the Civil Service to governance stems from the following: o Service presence throughout the country and its strong binding character
• Administrative and managerial capacity of the services
• Effective policy-making and regulation
• Effective coordination between institutions of governance o Leadership at different levels of administration.
• Service delivery at the cutting edge level o Provide ‘continuity and change’ to the administration.
In recent times, there has been accelerated change globally brought about by technological advances, greater decentralization and social activism. The ramifications of these changes are being felt by government in the form of increasing expectations for better governance through effective service delivery, transparency, accountability and rule of law. The civil service, as the primary arm of government, must keep pace with the changing times in order to meet the aspirations of the people. The purpose of ‘reform’ is to reorient the Civil Services into a dynamic, efficient and accountable apparatus for public service delivery built on the ethos and values of integrity, impartiality and neutrality. The reform is to raise the quality of public services delivered to the citizens and enhance the capacity to carry out core government functions, thereby, leading to sustainable development.
The ailments afflicting Indian civil services are:
• Lack of professionalism and poor capacity building
• Inefficient incentive systems that do not appreciate upright and outstanding civil servants but reward the corrupt and the incompetent
• Outmoded rules and procedures that restrict the civil servant from performing effectively
• Systemic inconsistencies in promotion and empanelment
• Lack of adequate transparency and accountability procedures – there is also no safety for whistle blowers
• Arbitrary and whimsical transfers – insecurity in tenures impedes institutionalization
• Political interference and administrative acquiescence
• A gradual erosion in values and ethics
Components of Civil Service Reform
Reforms must take into account the role of the Civil Service in the governance needs of the day and the expectations generated from it. The main components of Civil Service Reform should pertain to the following:
A. Right sizing government
India needs a leaner and fitter civil service system. The recommendations are:
I. Retire 25% to 50% of the officers at the age of 52 to 55, as it is done in the Army;
II. Drastically reduce the cadre as well as ex-cadre posts, especially in the supertime and above, leading to slower promotions;
III. Encourage officers to join NGOs, educational and research institutes during mid-career. The DOPT should play a more active ‘placement’ role by maintaining a list of officers who wish to be out of the service for a temporary period, and liaise with the desirous NGOs and other institutions;
IV. Increase the period an officer can be out of the system from 5 to 7 years, without losing his seniority; and
V. Many posts in the government should be earmarked to permit lateral entry of people from NGO/ professional institutions at various levels to bring in a fresh outlook.
B. Stability of Tenure
A malaise afflicting the civil service generally is the instability of tenures, leading not only to a lack of sense of involvement but also to the inability to contribute effectively to amelioration of the system. Transfers have been used as instruments of reward and punishment, there is no transparency, and in the public mind transfer after a short stay is categorised as a stigma. Officers who are victimised are not in a position to defend themselves. Internally the system does not call for any reaction to explain one’s conduct, while externally public servants are debarred from going public to defend themselves.
Frequent transfers and limited tenures are playing havoc with public organisations. Thus there should be a high powered and statutory Civil Services Board in the States, which should process all proposals of postings and transfers and there should be an ACC kind of procedure (followed by the Government of India whereby an officer joins a Ministry for a fixed term of 4 – 5 years) in the States also. Once a person is posted he should not be transferred except by following the same procedure once more.
There is a need to restructure the systems and procedures as well as the style of functioning. The Indian civil service should modernise itself. The professionalising of its various activities is very essential. This will bring in speed, cut down redtape, reduce paper work, and trim down the cost of its maintenance.
An extensive training in office administration and administrative methods needs to be imparted to the officers of the non-All-India services. The officers of the All-India administrative services and the top grade services of the provincial governments should be encouraged to acquire computer literacy and get intensively trained in database, etc.
Professional skills of officers may relate to three functional categories – implementation, program/project preparation and policy formulation – as well as to specific themes (domain areas or specializations). Concrete effort needs to be directed towards encouraging civil servants to cultivate professional skills through direct work experience or through research.
D. Mobility for the Services and Lateral Entry of Professionals
In addition to the combined examination, recruitment should also be made by other methods, especially at the level of Joint Secretary and above, e.g. lateral entry with contractual appointment and lateral entry with permanent retention. Initial lateral entry may be by way of appointment as Officer on Special Duty with limited tenure assignments. If the inductee performs very well, she / he could be offered a permanent position and five per cent vacancies could be reserved for such entrants. There should be more lateral entry, which is at present restricted only to finance and economic department and Planning Commission. In USA, there is a lateral entry system at the highest levels which is open for all.
For greater accountability, the following are some of the measures suggested:
• Strengthening and streamlining reporting mechanisms
• Streamlining and fast-tracking departmental enquiries
• Linking performance with incentives
• Overhaul of employee grievance procedures
• Action on audit findings
• Implementation of Citizens Charters’ for monitoring service delivery
• Right to Information Act and its enforcement
• Code of conduct for civil servants
The implementation of above stated reforms are necessary. Civil Service Reforms should aim at strengthening administrative capability to perform core government functions. These reforms raise the quality of services to the citizens that are essential to the promotion of sustainable economic and social development.
• According to Article 246 of the Indian Constitution and section 3 of the IPA, the police force is a state subject and not dealt with at central level. Each state government has the responsibility to draw guidelines, rules and regulations for their respectively police forces.
• The Indian Police Act (IPA) of 1861 is the current basic governing instrument of the Indian police force. It lays down the structure and functions of the police departments in the country. The IPA was drafted by the British colonisers as a direct consequence of the first war of independence to ensure the police system’s subservience to the executive and to remain authoritarian in its contact with the public.
• The police system was designed to a strict hierarchical and military structure, based on the colonial distrust of the lower ranks. The decision making authority lies with a few high placed police officers, while the police constables merely followed orders. After independence, efforts were made to change the political system but the police system still remains almost intact.
THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE
Superintendence over the police force in the state is exercised by the State Government. The head of the police force in the state is the Director General of Police (DGP), who is responsible to the state government for the administration of the police force in the state and for advising the government on police matters.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POLICE
The Police Act of 1861 laid down the following duties for the police officers:
i. Obey and execute all orders and warrants lawfully issued by any competent authority;
ii. Collect and communicate intelligence affecting the public peace;
iii. Prevent commission of offences and public nuisances;
iv. Detect and bring offenders to justice; and
v. Apprehend all persons whom he is legally authorised to apprehend and for whose apprehension sufficient ground exists.
These tasks were listed originally in 1861, the duties have expanded and slightly changed since then and a more recent list of duties would be:
1. Maintaining law and order
2. Riot control
3. Crime investigation
4. Protection of State assets
5. VIP protection
6. Traffic control
ISSUES IN THE POLICE ORGANIZATION IN INDIA
The inefficiency in the current police force can be a result of various factors and can differ from state to state. Many police forces are overburdened and struggling with backlog investigations. To combat these problems it is important to see the reasons behind the problem. Some of the issues discussed are:
I. Colonial Stigma
• In spite of their functioning in a democratic set up for more than six decades, the Indian police have not been able to wipe off the colonial stigma attached to them.
II. Old and Archaic Blue Books
• The operational and functional Blue-Books (IPC, CrPC, Evidence Acts) and even the Indian Police Act, are basically colonial in nature and in the contemporary policing contexts. Some of the provisions have become old, archaic and out dated.
III. Poor & inadequate PCR
• Police community relations in India are normally brief, contextual and even negative in nature.
IV. Poor Image
• The functional image of police in India is not satisfactory.
V. Over Centralization
• Indian Police is a functionally centralized organization and no efforts have been done to decentralize the police functions.
VI. Over burdened organisation
• There is an extra ordinary workload on an average policemen, which has adversely affected his efficiency and performance.
VII. Problems related to general administration
• Poor enforcement of laws and general failure of administration;
• Large gap between aspirations of the people and opportunities with resultant deprivation and alienation; and
• Lack of coordination between various government agencies
VIII. Problems related to police
• Problems of organisation, infrastructure and environment;
• Unwarranted political interference;
• Lack of empowerment of the cutting edge functionaries;
• Lack of motivation at the lower levels due to poor career prospects, and hierarchical shackles;
• Lack of modern technology/methods of investigation;
• Obsolete intelligence gathering techniques and infrastructures; and
• Divorce of authority from accountability.
IX. Problems of organisational behaviour
• Inadequate training; and
• Entrenched attitudes of arrogance, insensitivity and patronage.
X. Problems of stress due to overburdening
• Multiplication of functions, with crime prevention and investigation taking a back seat;
• Shortage of personnel and long working hours; and
• Too large a population to handle.
XI. Problems related to ethical functioning
• Corruption, collusion and extortion at different levels;
• Insensitivity to human rights; and
• Absence of transparent recruitment and personnel policies.
XII. Problems related to prosecution
• Best talent not attracted as public prosecutors;
• Lack of coordination between the investigation and the prosecution agencies; and
• Mistrust of police in admitting evidence.
XIII. Problems related to the judicial process/criminal justice administration
• Large pendency of cases;
• Low conviction rates;
• No emphasis on ascertaining truth; and
• Absence of victims’ perspective and rights
XIV. Long working hours
• Long, undefined hours are the norm for constables across police stations in India. They are on duty even during festivals to ensure there is no ruckus or breach of law and order. In the bargain, they rarely get any days off.
• Even today, in most police stations, there is no system of working in shifts.
XV. Low income and few opportunities
• The lowest starting salary of constables in India ranges from Rs 5,200 to Rs 10,300, according to 2012 data from the Bureau of Police Research and Development. However, this amount is not proportional to the hours they put in at work.
• Promotions are hard to come by and constables remain in the same position for a number of years, with little or no increase in pay.
XVI. Lack of proper training
• Constables are usually the public’s first point of contact with the police, but they are not trained adequately in dealing with complaints sensitively.
• Inadequate emphasis is given to sharpening investigation skills, even though it is a vital aspect of their duties.
Successive governments at the Centre have taken many initiatives by constituting expert commissions and working groups on police reform. These commissions have offered various recommendations. But there has been no sustained implementation of their recommendations.
National Police Commission
The Government of India appointed a National Police Commission in 1977, as it felt that “far reaching changes have taken place in the country” since independence but “there has been no comprehensive review at the national level of the police system after independence despite radical changes in the political, social and economic situation in the country”. It was felt that “a fresh examination is necessary of the role and performance of the police both as a law enforcement agency and as an institution to protect rights of the citizens enshrined in the Constitution”. The NPC submitted eight detailed reports between 1979 and 1981 which contained comprehensive recommendations covering the entire gamut of police working.
In the first report, the National Police Commission recommended that the existing system of working of the constables, who constitute more than 85% of the force, be radically changed. They should be so recruited and trained that they could be deployed on duties involving the exercise of discretion and judgement. The Commission also suggested machinery for redressal of grievances within the police organization.
The second report of the Commission stressed that the basic role of the police is to function as a law enforcement agency and render impartial service to the people. It expressed grave concern on the misuse of police, interference by illegal or improper orders or pressure from political executives or other extraneous sources. The Commission recommended that the power of superintendence of the state government over the police should be limited to ensuring that the police perform their duties in accordance with the law. To ensure this, it recommended the setting up of a statutory body called the ‘State Security Commission’ in each state and also that the chief of police should be assured of a minimum prescribed tenure.
The third report dealt with the procedural laws and the evils of suppression of crime by non-registration of cases. It also examined the role of police in dealing with the weaker sections of society. The Commission emphasised that the posting of officers in-charge of police stations should be the exclusive responsibility of the district Superintendent of Police and similarly the selection and posting of Superintendents of Police should be the exclusive responsibility of the Chief of Police.
The fourth report emphasised the imperative need of co-ordinating the functioning of the investigating staff with the prosecuting agency and suggested reforms in procedural laws with a view to facilitating judicious conduct of investigations. On the subject of enforcement of social legislation, the Commission laid down the parameters of police involvement.
The fifth report dealt with the recruitment of constables and sub-inspectors and laid emphasis on their proper training.
The sixth report recommended police commissionerates in large cities with a population of five hundred thousand and above and also in places which had witnessed rapid industrialization or urbanisation. It also recommended certain measures to improve the police handling and investigation of cases of communal riots.
The seventh report dealt with the internal management of the police force and emphasised that this should be entirely under the purview of the Chief of Police.
The eighth report recommended that the State Security Commission should be provided with an independent cell to evaluate police performance in both qualitative and quantitative terms.
The Commission even drafted a model Police Bill which could be enacted. Its recommendations, however, received no more than a cosmetic treatment at the hands of the Government of India. The political leadership was just not prepared to give functional autonomy to the police because it had found this wing of the administration a convenient tool to further its partisan objectives. As for the bureaucracy, control over the police was – and continues to be – an intoxicant they have become addicted to and are just not willing to give that up. And so, the Act of 1861 continues to be on the statute book even after nearly 150 years – a milestone around the police neck.
Apart from the National Police Commission, several other bodies were constituted from time to time to go into the question of police reforms. These were:
• Gore Committee on Police Training (1971-73)
• Ribeiro Committee on Police Reforms (1998)
• Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms (2000)
• Group of Ministers on National Security (2000-01)
• Malimath Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System (2001-3)
The Gore Committee was constituted to review the state of police training in the country and suggest improvements. The Ribeiro Committee was set up by the Supreme Court while it was deliberating over the Public Interest Litigation filed for police reforms; the Court wanted the Committee to examine if the National Police Commission’s recommendations, which formed the core of the PIL, were still relevant or that any modifications were called for. The Padmanabhaiah Committee examined the requirements of policing in the new millennium. The Group of Ministers examined the reports of various Committees which were set up in the wake of Pakistan’s aggression in Kargil, including the one dealing with internal security, and suggested comprehensive measures to strengthen the internal and external security apparatus. The Malimath Committee made far-reaching recommendations to reform the criminal justice system. It was of the view that the present Adversarial System could be improved by adapting some features of the Inquisitorial System, and recommended that ‘Quest for Truth’ should be the guiding principle of the entire criminal justice system. The Committee suggested significant changes in the Criminal Procedure Code to expedite the disposal of cases and in the Evidence Act to facilitate securing of convictions. Unfortunately, the recommendations of the Malimath Committee were trashed because of the chorus of protest from the human rights lobbies.
The Supreme Court directives
In 1996, two former Director Generals of Police asked the Supreme Court to direct central and state governments to address the most glaring gaps and bad practice in the functioning of the police. On 22 September 2006, the Supreme Court of India delivered a historic judgment in Prakash Singh vs. Union of India, instructing central and state governments to comply with a set of seven directives that laid down practical mechanisms to kick-start police reform. The Court’s directives sought to achieve functional autonomy for the police (through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a “buffer body” between the police and the government) and enhanced police accountability (both for organisational performance and individual misconduct.)
The Seven Directives in a Nutshell
• Directive One
Constitute a State Security Commission (SSC) to: (i) Ensure that the state government does not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police (ii) Lay down broad policy guideline and (iii) Evaluate the performance of the state police.
• Directive Two
Ensure that the DGP is appointed through merit based transparent process and secure a minimum tenure of two years.
• Directive Three
Ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of a district and Station House Officers in-charge of a police station) are also provided a minimum tenure of two years.
• Directive Four
Separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police.
• Directive Five
Set up a Police Establishment Board (PEB) to decide transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and make recommendations on postings and transfers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.
• Directive Six
Set up a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at state level to inquire into public complaints against police officers of and above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt, or rape in police custody and at district levels to inquire into public complaints against the police personnel below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police in cases of serious misconduct.
• Directive Seven
Set up a National Security Commission (NSC) at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPO) with a minimum tenure of two years.
Second ARC Recommendations
• Separation of investigation functions from other functions to inject the much needed specialization into the various functions of the Police and to relieve the average Policeman from multifarious responsibilities up to a certain extent.
• The constitution of the State Police Performance and Accountability Commission which shall frame the broad policy guidelines for efficient, effective and responsive and accountable policing, in accordance with law.
• All cities with population above one million should have Metropolitan Police Authorities. This Authority should have powers to plan and oversee community policing, improving police-citizen interface, suggest ways to improve quality of policing, approve annual police plans and review the working of such plans.
• Reducing Burden of Police by Outsourcing Non Core Functions.
• On the issue of structural reforms within the Police, the Police Act is sought to be amended and certain new features need to be introduced. For example the existing system of the constabulary should be substituted with recruitment of graduates at the level of Assistant Sub- Inspector of Police (ASI).This changeover could be achieved over a period of time by stopping recruitment of constables and instead inducting an appropriate number of ASIs. Recruitment of constables would, however, continue in the Armed Police. The orderly system should be abolished with immediate effect. The procedure for recruitment of police functionaries should be totally transparent and objective. Further, the Police-public ratio should be improved as it is touching dismally low levels especially in some states like Bihar. Affirmative action should be taken to motivate persons from different sections of society to join the police service. Recruitment campaigns should be organized to facilitate this process. All this is expected to not only empower the cutting edge functionaries and also vest better skills in the police functionaries of that level along with improving upon the diversity within the police force which is again an important determinant of improving Police-Public relationship.
• There is also a need to institute a variety of welfare measures for the Police viz. rational working hours for all police personnel, improved working conditions, better education facilities for their children, social security measures during service, as well as post retirement should be taken up on priority. Major housing construction programmes for police personnel should be taken up in a time bound manner in all states. All this is expected to drastically improve the morale of the Police force which shall not only de-incentivise corrupt practice but also reflect positively on the performance and sharpness of the Police on the ground.
• District Police Complaints Authority (DPCA) shall be constituted in each district by the State government in consultation with the Chairperson State Human Rights Commission, to enquire into the misconduct or abuse of power against police officers up to the rank of deputy Superintendent of Police. The Authority should be empowered to investigate any case itself or ask any other agency to investigate and submit a report.
• In case of major breakdown of public order, the State Police Complaints Authority should take appropriate action to fix responsibility on the police officers for lapses in acting upon intelligence or on the intelligence officers in case there has been a failure on their part.
• There is also a concern for the gender issue in policing particularly in reference to the though, sporadic, incidents of police excesses over women. Such misconduct is absolutely intolerable especially if it comes from the protectors of the society-The Police. Therefore in this regard several suggestions have been conceived viz. representation of women in police at all levels should be increased through affirmative action so that they constitute about 33% of the police. Police at all levels as well as other functionaries of the criminal justice system need to be sensitized on gender issues through well structured training programmes. Further, the administration and police should play a more pro-active role in detection and investigation of crimes against the weaker sections. Enforcement agencies should be instructed in unambiguous terms that enforcement of the rights of the weaker sections should not be downplayed for fear of further disturbances or retribution and adequate preparation should be made to face any such eventuality. The administration should also focus on rehabilitation of the victims and provide all required support including counselling by experts. Government must take concrete steps to increase awareness in the administration and among the police in particular, regarding crimes against children and take steps not only to tackle such crimes, but also to deal with the ensuing trauma.
• Registration of Crimes in form of FIRs should be made totally citizen friendly.
• Improvement of Forensic Science Infrastructure for professionalization of Investigation is of ultimate significance.
• The importance of strengthening the intelligence gathering machinery has been emphasized time and again. Human intelligence should be combined with information derived from diverse sources with the focus on increased use of technology.
• The most important component of Police reforms has to be the increased attention on the training of the Police. Deputation to training institutions must be made more attractive in terms of facilities and allowances so that the best talent is drawn as instructors. The Chief of Training in the state should be appointed on the recommendation of the Police Performance and Accountability Commission. Modern methods of training such as case study method should be used. For example the initiative of impartation of training in jungle warfare and martial arts like Krav Maga to MP Police involved in anti-Naxal operations is appreciable. Impact of training on the trainees however should be evaluated by independent field studies and based on the findings the training should be redesigned.
• A special emphasis should be placed on the establishment of a Union-State and Inter-State Cooperation and Coordination the Ministry of Home Affairs should proactively and in consultation with the states, evolve formal institutions and protocols for effective coordination between the Union and the states and among the states.
• Confessions made before the police should be admissible. All such statements should be however video-recorded and the tapes should be produced before the court.
• Constitution of the State Police Establishment Committee consisting of career civil servants at two levels, one to deal with all matters of postings and transfers, promotions and also grievances relating to establishment matters for all officers of the rank of IGP and the other committee to deal with similar matters of all gazetted officers up to the rank of DGP.
• The issue of Organized Crime has to be brought to the fore and dealt with firmly. The first step in this regard could be to bring specific provisions to define organized crimes to be included in the new law governing ‘Federal Crimes’.
All these measures are aimed at making future policing citizen-centric and autonomous, working under the frame work of law and reflecting the will of the society, and if implemented in consonance with each other is sure to go a long way in making the Police of the future, the way it needs to be.