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Will Delhi Police ever come under Delhi Government?
Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal's sit-in to force the Central Government to take action against some allegedly errant police officers and for transfer of Delhi Police under the control of the State Government of Delhi is fresh on everyone’s mind.

He has drawn a lot of flak for his agitational approach from parts of the media, main stream political parties and the intelligentsia. But the fact is that he is not the first Chief Minister of Delhi to have demanded it. Madan Lal Kurana, Saheb Singh Verma and Sushma Swaraj of BJP and Sheila Dikshit, the three time Congress Chief Minister of Delhi have also made the same demand, albeit without agitation.

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One can condone the agitational approach of Mr. Kejriwal when one realizes that the Government of India and most state governments are only galvanized into action by agitations. It took the Lok Pal agitation of Anna Hazare to get the Lok Pal Bill passed. It may take another agitation to get a Lok Pal appointed and his organization to be made functional. It will perhaps require a railway strike to prod the Railway Ministry and Railway Board to fill up critical operating and safety staff shortages and meet some of the other demands of the railway employees.

It requires public agitations to get rapists and bride burners to be arrested and punished. Some governments are insensitive enough to ignore the demands of the people. For example, Mamta Bannerjee’s Trinamool Government in West Bengal has done little to bring the culprits to book in the Madhyamgram rape case.

The British System

Since the Indian political and administrative structure has largely evolved from the British system, it is interesting to see the arrangement for policing London. London is divided into two administrative areas, City of London and the Metropolitan London, which covers Greater London excluding the City of London.

The City of London covers an area of about 2.5 sq km and houses the financial centre. It is governed by the Common Council of the City of London, which is equivalent to a municipal corporation headed by its own Lord Mayor. It has its own City of London Police.

Greater London Authority administers the areas of Greater London less the City of London. It has its own police known as the Metropolitan Police.

Legal Situation

Unlike in other states, the Delhi Assembly is barred by Article 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution from passing laws on three subjects namely public order, police and land use. In 2003, the NDA government led by BJP tried to amend the constitution to grant full statehood to Delhi but failed to get the required majority. But, the proposed bill did not propose to allow the Delhi assembly to pass laws related to public order and police. It will thus be seen that BJP as well as the Congress do not want Delhi Police to be under the Delhi Government.

Possible Solution

Amending the Constitution requires two thirds majority in both houses of the Parliament. This is not possible in near future with the fractured polity that we have today. However, the Government of Delhi do not need authority to pass laws but need to have day to day administrative control of the police. That does not require any constitutional amendment but only restructure the present Delhi police into two parts; New Delhi Police and Greater Delhi Police and delegating the administrative authority of over the Greater Delhi Police to the Delhi Government.

New Delhi Police will be responsible for policing New Delhi, VIP protection, counter terrorism and remain under the Central Government as at present. The administration of Greater Delhi Police will be the responsibility of the Delhi Government, which will make the police more accountable to the common people of Delhi.

Why are Major Political Parties Against it?

Both the major political parties, Congress and BJP are against giving administrative control of Delhi Police to Delhi Government though they try to fool the people of Delhi into believing that they are for giving full statehood to Delhi. The reason is simple. The police department is a cash cow for the political parties and politicians. Police throughout the country are engaged in a large scale extortion racket that brings in thousands of crores of rupees every month.

The police stations and Regional Transport Organizations (RTOs) are the main collection centres of the extorted money. It is a well known secret that the post of SHOs and RTOs are auctioned off to the highest bidders. Once posted, the SHO or the RTO is allowed to extort as much money as they can from pavement dwellers, street vendors, drivers and owners of taxis, buses, trucks, auto-rickshaws and small business. They are also allowed to collect protection money from bootleggers, drug peddlers, women traffickers, history-sheeters to turn a blind eye on their activities.

In return they must hand over the agreed sum to their superiors for sharing the loot and keep the rest. Ever heard of a police officer being prosecuted for possessing assets disproportionate to his income? If administrative control of a major portion of the police is handed over to the Delhi Government, the earnings will fall drastically. Which politician or senior police officer will accept that? Worst thing that can happen for the police and most politicians is that the administration of police is handed over to anti corruption crusaders like the Aam Admi Party, because the century’s old system of corruption and extortion may then collapse.

Conclusion

Kejriwal may try his best. But, Delhi Police will be bifurcated and efforts to curb corruption in police will be successful only if the Aam Admi Party can come to power all over India. The Home minister, present or future, from BJP or Congress, will never allow it to happen. Who knows whether Delhi Police will ever be split and a major part handed over to the Delhi Government. Till that happens the aam admi or common people of Delhi and the entire country must continue to pay the police to persuade them to do their duty and to allow them to pursue their livelihoods.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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