PUCL January , 2004

Introduction of urban policing system in Orissa
PUCL Bhubaneswar seeks information on the working of the police commissionerate system in Indian cities

-- By Pramodini Pradhan
PUCL- Bhubaneswar
email- pramodini-pradhan@lycos.com

The Govt of Orissa is going to introduce the urban policing sytem in some urban centers of the State in place of the prevalent ‘normal’ police system, on the line of police commissionerate system prevailing in other major cities of the country like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Ahmedabad etc.

Recently the Orissa Assembly has passed the Orissa Urban Police Bill 2003 to this effect which has given some draconian powers to the police. This has elicited protests from various quarters.

The arguments in support of this bill are
(a) that it is badly required to meet the challenges of increasing crimes and other problems due to urbanization and industrialization and under the new provision it would install a superior and more professional policing system and (b) that it is working smoothly in 34 major cities all over the country, including the ones referred to above, without any allegation of major abuse. While, prima facie opposing it, we are trying to prepare a critique of the new police bill passed by the Orissa Assembly. We would be immensely aided in our effort if we can get any feedback on working of the police commissionerate system in the cities of your state wherever it is operating.

You may kindly share your experiences, particularly on the following areas

  • How far the police gets scope to abuse its power and indulge in corruption, torture, extortion etc by being conferred with some extra powers - the licensing power for various purposes like advertisement, places of amusement, eating houses etc, magisterial powers, power of externment, various regulatory powers like that of traffic and other civic amenities, power to compound offences etc.
  • If the police has been granted any extra immunity under such system in your state against abuse of its power, over and above the existing ones under the normal provisions of law like 197 of CRPC. If so, how far it has helped increasing the audacity of the police.
  • Use, abuse and effectivity of the systems of appointing additional police officers temporarily from the common people at the time of emergent needs like communal riots etc or appointment of special police officers at the requisition of some private party on user-paid basis.
  • Use and abuse of Community Defence Committees set up by the police and that of the system of community penalty in disturbed areas .
  • How far the urban police system is more effective in addressing the challenges of urbanization and industrialization in comparison to the normal policing system, in proportion to the scope for abuse under both the systems.
  • Is it at all required to be newly introduced in other cities.

Besides, if any study has been conducted on the working, effectivity, abuse and reform of the urban policing system in your state by any govt or non-govt body, and any other article/ information is available with you , kindly share the same with us .

Pramodini Pradhan
PUCL- Bhubaneswar
Email- pramodini-pradhan@lycos.com

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