The Supreme Court of India has time and again envisaged that the police should be insulated from any political interference and that the prosecution too should be independent in its functioning. Today the Goa Police and the prosecution lack freedom in discharging their duties. The police and the prosecution have been functioning at the dictates and on the instructions of the politicians. The recent Balli saga says it all.
It is most unbecoming of the politicians in power to have done all they can over the years to systematically erode the authority of Goa’s Director General of Police (DGP). Even in the matter of posting of police personnel, ministers have gone to the extent of appropriating the power to assign postings of constables to police Inspectors and even DySPs to SP’s.
The intent and manner behind depriving the DGP the authority in such routine administrative matters is deplorable. The damage done to the status and position of the DGP is incalculable and unacceptable. Today the DGP cannot even transfer or discipline a constable.
It was on the directions of the Supreme Court that State Governments were directed to create a State Security Commission to improve and monitor the functioning of the police. The Supreme Court was very candid that a new Police Act should wholly insulate the police force from any political pressure, whatsoever, so as to be able to secure the citizen’s rights under the Constitution.
Police should be allowed to freely discharge their duty of ensuring that law and order prevails. The Supreme Court directives do not permit police officers to be transferred before the completion of two years in their posting.
For good public policing the politicians should never use the police to target their political opponents and to try silence voices of dissent.
Politicians publicly speak about the independence of the police and of law taking its own course. The ground reality is very different as they interfere and unduly intervene in the day to day working of the police and the prosecution. We have a lot of good and smart policemen and prosecutors too. But unfortunately their brains, investigative and prosecuting skills are in the custody of the politicians whose line they have to tow.
It is time to make the police and the prosecution function as a professionally competent body and not as mere agents of the political party in power. Law and order is a key to the prosperity and well being of any society. Today murders and rapes are on the increase. At times the police lack the will to investigate because of political pulls and pressures and the prosecutors also are denied the freedom to do their job.
There has to be a consensus to ensure that the police and the prosecution get their independence and are freed from the clutches of the politicians. It is a shame that the police and the prosecutors over the years have been manipulated and tamed by the powers to be.
In fact their only role is to dance to the tunes of those in power. In effect they have been bound and gagged and this has adversely affected their morale and credibility.
There is a need for a consensus amongst all political parties on the need to allow the police and the prosecution to function freely and independently devoid of any political interference and manipulation whatsoever. It is high time there is a concerted effort in this direction. A small state like Goa could have maintained its peace and tranquility but the ground reality is a matter of great concern. If no immediate corrective steps are taken we may reach a point of no return.
– By Aires Rodrigues