We are surprised and dismayed by the statement of the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan widely reported in the press , August 29, 2013 where the “CM says absolute implementation of police reforms is not possible”
It appears that the Maharashtra Government either does not have the political will or does not want to lose the control of the management or resultant mismanagement of police affairs of the State.
A day before the Prakash Singh case on Police Reforms came up for hearing in the Supreme Court on July 17, 2013, the Maharashtra State Government on July 15th promulgated the order for setting up of a Police Establishment Board and delegated powers of the transfer of the police personnel to the said Board. This was as it should be.
In addition a week before, the Maharashtra Government had already set up the Security Commission headed by the Chief Minister. Further, the State announced the setting up of the Police Complaints Authority .
Now suddenly there is a volte face by the Chief Minister, who now asserts that the absolute implementation of the police reforms is not possible.
The Chief Minister is misinterpreting what being ‘responsible’ as a government means. It does not mean direct control over the management of every agency created by the State. The cabinet does not try to manage thousands of government services it is responsible for through managing postings transfers and other employment matters directly. So why the police?
The CM and the cabinet must lay down general policing policy; provide support to make the police fit for purpose and monitor its performance. One part of doing this is to choose a fine police chief out of a panel made up of the most meritorious people; and then let him choose his own officers through a transparent process based on clear guidelines and criteria that looks fair to his own men. Then let him get on with making Mumbai a safer city through upholding the law and by lawful means.
If the CM and the cabinet feel they are ‘responsible’ for administering and managing the police and so must take away the powers of the chief then we have two questions: Will they all resign when there is a gangrape or a terrible murder or crime statistics go up and up as they are doing now? Second question; why have a police chief at all if he can’t be trusted to run his own organisation, choose his team or do the job you have chosen him for.
It would be pertinent to quote the former Police Commissioner Julio Rebeiro , “Bombay was safe. Is Mumbai safe?” “Where I disagree with him[ Home Minister Mr. R.R.Patil] is about Police Reforms. If introduced in spirit these should help him to have a more professional police force. Corruption will decline by more than fifty percent overnight and the quality of policing will improve if the reforms go through. His colleagues in his own party, however are not interested. They want to control postings and transfers. And they do not care if the current dispensation does not induce fear of law in the minds of rapists like the boys involved in the Shakti Mill episode”[ DNA-Aug29,2013]
Chief Minister Sir, we do not want lamentations but “Action Now” to implement police reforms for effective and better policing to make Mumbai City safe for its citizens.
issues by- Police Reforms Watch Mumbai