New Delhi: Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Friday said that people hesitate to approach the police in times of despair as its image is tarnished due to corruption, excesses, lack of impartiality and close nexus with the political class.
Delivering the 19th DP Kohli Memorial Lecture of CBI on “Democracy: Role and Responsibilities of Investigative Agencies”, CJI Ramana said police officers often complained of being harassed after regime change.
“Often police officers approach us that they are being harassed after change of regime and when regime changes consequences are suffered. First is to gain social legitimacy and that is by breaking the political executive nexus,” Bar and Bench quoted CJI Ramana as saying.
Chief Justice of India Ramana said the police reforms have been on the government’s agenda for more than 50 years and yet nothing has happened.
“Society has undergone dramatic changes since post-independence era. Policing system needs reform to be in tune with present day scenario,” he added.
Chief Justice of India Ramana said there needs to be a political will for democratic policing.
“The government reports have acknowledged that police now needs reforms with respect to infrastructure, our investigative agencies are still not guided by a common law,” Chief Justice of India Ramana said.
“As institutions we have to still gain social legitimacy. Police should work in crime prevention and see law and order is upheld,” he added.
The Chief Justice of India said the judiciary used to be flooded with requests to transfer probe to the CBI due to its impartiality.
“But with the passage of time, like other institutions CBI has also come under deep oblique scrutiny,” Chief Justice of India Ramana said.
Chief Justice of India Ramana said the truth is no matter how deficient other institutions may be, if you stand true to your duty then nothing can come your way.
“Institution is bad or is as good as its leadership. We can either go with the flow or be role models,” he added.
Stating the police and people have to work together to create a safe society, Chief Justice of India Ramana said: “When you stand upright you should be known for valour.”
The Chief Justice of India said the nature of job forces you to work under pressure and your mental and physical health needs attention.
“My wish for greater presence for women in legal institution stands true for all institution and thus more women representation is needed in criminal justice system,” he added.
Chief Justice of India Ramana said the burden of probe is primarily on state police and that is why it cannot be seen why state police cannot enjoy the same degree of respect like the central agencies.
The Chief Justice of India further said there is an immediate requirement of creation of an umbrella institution for investigating agencies like the CBI, SFIO.
“This body needs to come under a statute and it must be under legislative oversight and must be headed by a person appointed as the CBI director,” Chief Justice of India Ramana said.
“Such an umbrella institution will save multiplicity of proceedings. One safeguard is to have separate wings of investigation and court proceedings for complete impartiality. there is a need to overhaul,” he added.