Essay on the evolution of Law and order administration in India


British Legacy; National Police Commission; Investigative Agencies; Role of Central and State Agencies Including Paramilitary Forces in Maintenance of Law and Order and Countering Insurgency and Terrorism; Criminalisation of Politics and Administration; Police-Public Relations; Reforms in Police.

Administration of Law and Order is the most important function performed by any Government. The survival of administration depends on maintenance of law and order within the country.

In the Indian context, it is the states, which, under the federal constitution, are responsible for the maintenance of public order, and the role of the union government is merely advisory and coordinating. Article 257 of the Constitution, however, authorizes the central government, at the request of a state government, to deploy its own security forces to maintain law and order within that state.


It is in addition to the power of the union government to issue such directions or give such instruction to a state government as may appear to it to be necessary for the purpose.

Historically, the main problem before any administration in India has always been the maintenance of peace and law and order in the country.

In view of the prevailing atmosphere of violence in the country, attention to law and order is called for. Unfortunately, the function of law and order is being relegated to secondary position by giving priority to development. But man must live before he can develop.

British legacy


Much before the Independence, superior police officers belonging to the Imperial Police (IP) were appointed by the Secretary of State on the basis of competitive examination. The very first open civil service examination for the service was held in England in June, 1893 and the top ten candidates were appointed as probationers of the Indian (Imperial) Police. However, it is not possible to pinpoint a date on which it could positively be claimed that the Indian Police came into being.

In around 1907, the Secretary of State’s officers were directed to wear the letters “IP” on their epaulettes to distinguish them from the other officers not recruited by the Secretary of State. In this sense, 1907 could be regarded as the starting point for the Indian Police.


The First Police Commission, appointed on 17 August 1860, contained detailed guidelines for the desired system of police in India and defined police as a governmental department to maintain order, enforce the law, and prevent and detect crime.


The Indian Police Service is not a force itself but a service providing leaders and commanders to staff the state police and all-India para-military forces. Its members, who are all at least university graduates, are the senior officers of the police.

With the pas­sage of time Indian Police Service’s objectives were updated and redefined, the roles and functions of an Indian Police Service Officer are as follows:

» To fulfill duties based on broader responsibilities, in the areas of maintenance of public peace and order, crime prevention, investigation, and detection, collection of intelligence, VIP security, counter- terrorism, border policing, railway policing, tackling smuggling, drug trafficking, economic offences, corruption in public life, disaster management, enforcement of socio-economic legislation, bio-diver­sity and protection of environmental laws etc.

» Leading and commanding the Indian intelligence agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (R& Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Crime Investigation Department (CID) etc., Indian federal law enforcement agencies, civil and armed police forces in all the and union territories.


» Leading and commanding the Para-Military Forces of India (PMF) which include the Central P Organisations (CPO) and Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF) such as Border Security Force ( Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security G (NSG), Rashtriya Rifles, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Vigilance Organisations, I Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, Assam Rifles, etc.

Serve at head of the departments in policy making in the Ministries and Departments of C and State Governments and public sector undertakings both at centre and states, Government India.

» To interact and coordinate closely with the members of other All-India Services and Central Services and also with the Indian Armed Forces

» Last but not the least, to lead and command the force with courage, uprightness, dedication a strong sense of service to the people.


» Endeavour to inculcate in the police forces under their command such values and norms as help them serve the people better.

» Inculcate integrity of the highest order, sensitivity to aspirations of people in a fast-changing and economic milieu, respect for human rights, broad liberal perspective of law and justice and standard of professionalism.

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