Law and Order should be moved from state list to union list in the seventh schedule of the constitution. Critically discuss in the light of political interference faced by police personnel impeding the functioning of police.

Published: August 28, 2017

As per the 7th schedule of Indian constitution ‘Police’ and ‘Public Order’ are State subjects. Each State has, therefore, has full administrative control over the police. The biggest issue that plagues the police forces is political interference. Political affiliations play a large role in departmental inquiries, performance appraisals and awards are given to officers. Even after the Supreme Court verdict in the Prakash Singh v/s Union of India case political interference still hampers the functioning of the police.
The judgment clearly said that all decisions on transfer of officers and personnel should be free from political interference. As per judgment State governments should set up police establishment boards to take decisions on transfers. Though the board has been established, they are not independent. Court’s directive to separate criminal investigation and law and order is followed on paper. Thus Political interference in policing has rendered police toothless. The state governments are sometimes hesitant to take action just for the sake of vote bank. This political interference paralyzes the police. Also since it is a state subject, there are different laws which create problem in smooth coordination.
The need of the hour is to reform and strengthen police, however, states response has been rather slow. So both center and state will have to co-operate. Since the shift of subject to union list will affect the federalism, this can be moved in the concurrent list. This will help in Uniform police system all over the nation & best practices can be implemented across the nation. Along with that more funds from the center can be accessed for infrastructure. The idea should be to transform police as a “service”, not a “force”.

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