Notes on the Accountability and Control of Police system in India


The police system in it’s present form was established under the Indian Police Act of 1861 and continues to be the basis for police system even today. Several studies on the image of police have revealed that, the people have lost faith in the working of the police, due to their failure in controlling emerging problems of law and order. Inefficiency, incapacity, apathy, corruption, failure to take prompt action etc. have given a poor image to the police, and the most fundamental issue is the accountability and control over police forces.

This issue is often passed in terms of Aristolte’s question, who will guard the Guardians? or who controls the controllers and who is to prevent beatings in police stations? The relationship between the public and the police force is an unequal one. People are often unaware of their rights and police has the power to detain any person in the plea of breach of peace, and the individuals have no means to getting redress of police action. In our country there is no effective complaint procedure against the police harassment. As the police act with virtual impunity people have a very low level of confidence in the police. Becoming a police is a way of gaining both status and income. Bribery and corruption go well with police system. Often police force is racial, communal, politically based and indisciplined who frequently abuse their power. Very often people hesitate to approach police stations and to expect justice from them.

In India, National Police Commission has suggested the constitution of state Security Boards to make police more accountable and responsible. But unfortunately they have not been seriously considered. Any reform in this regard has to be made keeping in mind the socio-political milieu within which the police has to operate. The attitudes of police and people should be changed in the total context of social change and political dynamics. Neither police can take law into its hand and curtail liberties of the people nor people can expect peace and order unless they themselves cooperate with police in discharge of it’s functions.

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