New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission today pitched for massive reforms in police forces saying that the 150-year-old Act governing them makes police an "agent of the government" rather than a law enforcing agency.
"Police as the foremost instrumentality of the State, is required to enforce the rule of law but the Police Act of 1861, which is still the backbone of policing in the country, makes the police an agent of the government and not an agent of the law," Vigilance Commissioner R Srikumar, a former IPS officer, said.
He rued that most of the states have failed to follow the Model Police Act, over 30 years after it was drafted by the National Police Commission.
"Six decades after Independence, four decades after the drafting of a Model Police Act by the National Police Commission and after several committees and commissions have endorsed the need for police reforms...,” he said.
"Hardly a dozen out of the 30 odd states in the country have brought about any changes in the laws of policing to make it more democratic and an uphold the law, without any fear or favour," the Vigilance Commissioner said.
Srikumar, who was part of a team which probed into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, also pitched for a Lokpal Act and a CBI Act to make law enforcing agencies more effective.
He lamented that changes were made in Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, under which the CBI functions, in 2003 making it compulsory for government approval before launching a graft probe against a joint secretary-level officer and above.
"Police do not have any compunction in arresting a sleeping Baba or an octogenarian who stage a protest against corruption and ineffective mechanisms. Not only do we not have a Lokpal Act, we also do not have a CBI Act.
"Although the maxim ought to be `no matter how high you are, the law is above you`, still the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 was amended in 2003 to make it mandatory to get government concurrence before a corruption case can be taken up against an officer of the level of joint secretary and above," he said, suggesting a change in the process.