By Dr. Khomdon Singh Lisam
The reported statement of Shri M.K. Das, IPS, Director General of Police, Manipur that “there is a need to establish Police Recruitment Board for recruitment of staff of Manipur Police in Manipur to do justice at the time of recruitment” as reported in the Poknapham of dated 22nd October,2013 is highly commendable. We have not heard such a bold statement from the head of the Manipur Police Department during the last so many years. This should be welcomed, appreciated and supported by the Manipur State Government and by the public to root out rampant corruption at the time of recruitment as well as to improve the Police-Public relations.
Nowadays, anybody in the street can quote the rate or the price one has to pay for entering into the Manipur Police Service at the rank of SI or ASI or Constable. The frequently quoted rate for SI is from Rs. 15 lakhs to Rs. 25 lakhs depending the connection you have with the VIPs. The rate for ASI is Rs. 10 lakhs to Rs. 15 lakhs and the rate of constable is Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 7 lakhs . The top five candidates in the merit list of the written examinations may be spared just to show to the public that there is no corruption involved in the recruitment process. This is an open secret which the people of Manipur has been tolerating for decades without any relief.
Nowadays, the Manipur Police job has become the most lucrative job in Manipur because even one SI can construct multi storied buildings and earn lakhs of rupees every year within a few years of joining service . It is rumoured that for getting plumb posting in a place like Moreh or Imphal town as a Constable, you have to pay Rs. 2-5 lakhs. Those who could not get plumb posting were trying to earn money by hook or by crook , sometimes by indulging in crimes like drug trafficking or kidnapping or collusion with underground elements . This is well known to the public. That is why the common people do not have any faith in the Manipur Police. The root cause of this evil is the rampant corruption at the time of recruitment of staff of Manipur Police. If we can root out corruption at the time of recruitment, then a new dawn or sunshine will emerge and the effectiveness and efficiency of the Manipur Police department will be enhanced, the respect and confidence of the people in the police personnel will be increased and there will be a better Police-Public relationship and there will be peace and tranquillity in Manipur.
When I was asked to join the UNODC team in 2003 to visit Myanmar , I was hesitating to go to Myanmar fearing the notoriety of Myanmar ’s military government. When I visited Yangon, Mandalay , Tachilek , Lashio, Myitkyna and other places of Golden Triangle in Myanmar during a span of about three months, I did not saw a single policeman on the street with guns. I was wondering what kind of military government was in Myanmar without police with guns on the street . I was remembering the situation in Imphal where for every 100 feet , I saw a policeman with Ak-47 rifles pointing to the passer-by What kind of democracy we are having in Manipur with the police licenced to kill anybody anytime anywhere. When I was in London and Leeds (UK) in 1985 and in 1991-1992 I never saw a policeman with guns on the street. But I saw police men dancing together with the local people on the street on the eve of New Year and Christmas. The mutual trust and respect between the police and the public is palpable. When I visited France , Spain , Italy , Germany and many other countries of the world some years back, I never saw policemen with guns on the street. When I visited Los Angeles , Washington , New York , San Francisco in 1997, I saw policemen with guns near the entrance gate of sky scrappers not on the street. I was wondering when we can have such kind of peaceful environment in Manipur. We need to learn the lessons from other countries and other forward states to ensure that kind of environment in Manipur.
Recently, we have started seeing some changes for the better in the management of police force in Manipur under the command of Shri M.K,Das. The purpose of Manipur Police should be to uphold the law fairly and firmly; to prevent occurrence of crime; to pursue and bring to justice those who break the law; to keep the peace in partnership with the community; to protect, help and reassure the people. This can be accomplished when the Manipur Police works with a mission and vision. Shri M.K Das is aware that the mission of the Manipur Police should be to help the common man, to provide him security and to create a peaceful and law abiding community with his cooperation at the same time upholding the rule of Law, preventing crime and maintaining law and order. The vision should be to protect the weak, the under-privileged and to serve the people and making the Manipur Police people-friendly, to enhance the credibility of the police and checking corruption, transparency in the system .
In order to achieve the intended mission and vision , I would like to make some simple suggestions for consideration of our Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri O. Ibobi Singh, our Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister Shri Gaikhangam who is in charge of Home Affaires and Shri M.K. Das , the respected DGP of Manipur. I think, if they put their heads together m they can easily do it within a few days.
1.Establishment of Manipur Police Recruitment and Promotion Board .
The Estimates Committee of the Parliament, in its 47th Report (1967-68), recommended the setting up of a Service Selection Commission for conducting examinations for recruitment to lower categories of posts. The Government of India, in the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms vide its Resolution No. 46/1(S)/74-Estt.(B) dated the 4th November, 1975 constituted a Commission called the Subordinate Services Commission which has subsequently been re-designated as Staff Selection Commission effective from the 26th September, 1977 to make recruitment to various Class III (now Group “C”) (non-technical) posts in the various Ministries/Departments of the Govt. of India and in Subordinate Offices. The functions of the Staff Selection Commission have been enlarged from time to time and now it carries out the recruitment also to all Group “B” posts in the pay scale of Rs 9300 to 34800 with a grade pay of Rs 42000 The functions of the Staff Selection Commission were redefined by the Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions vide its Resolution No.39018/1/98-Estt.(B) dated 21st May 1999 (may be seen under the heading Resolution). The new constitution and functions of the Staff Selection Commission came into effect from 1st June 1999.
Many states in India had already established Police Recruitment and Promotion Boards to be responsible for recruitment and promotion of staff of the police department . The Board may be headed by a Chairman with two other members and a Secretary. There have been some instances where people demand for dissolution of the State Police Recruitment Board in some states when the chairman nominated happened to be a political person indulging in corruption and nepotism . Therefore nomination or appointment of suitable , qualified apolitical person with a clean tract record , integrity and commitment from among the respectable citizens of Manipur as chairman and members of the Board is crucial to the success of the mission and vision.
2. Establishment of the Police Performance and Accountability Commission.” (PPAC).
On the lines of the first report of the Ribeiro Committee of October, 1998 and finally as per Supreme Court order of the bench of Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice C.K. Thakker and Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan (2006), the Manipur State Government may consider establishment of the “Police Performance and Accountability Commission.” (PPAC) in Manipur. The function of the Commission will be to oversee the performance of the Police and ensure that it is accountable to the law of the land. It will also ensure that no premature transfers of officers of the rank of SP and above are made without prior clearance from the Commission and that transfers are made only by the authority competent under the rules to do so. The Commission will comprise of the Minister in charge of Police as the Chairman, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Secretary of the State, a sitting or retired judge nominated by the Chief Justice of the State`s High Court and three other non-political citizens of proven merit and integrity as members. These three citizens should be chosen by a committee to be set-up by the Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission..
3. Establishment of District Police Complaints Authority.
A District Police Complaints Authority may be set up in each Police District as a non statutory body to examine and inquire into allegations of police misconduct, complaints from the public of police excesses, arbitrary arrests and detention, false implications in criminal cases, custodial violence and to make appropriate recommendations to the Police Performance and Accountability Commission, as well as to the Government and to the State or National Human Rights Commission. The District and Sessions Judge, the Collector of the district and the Senior SP of the district may constitute this authority.
4. Training and orientation of Police Personnel in Police-Public Relations
This may be initiated as a part of the curriculum under the Manipur Police Training Centre . State and district level workshops may be organised where eminent lawyers, Judges and respectable citizens may be invited to speak on Police-Public relations. This will inculcate the idea of good police-public relations in the minds of all police personnel in Manipur.
If our Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri O. Ibobi Singh and our Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister Shri Gaikhangam implement what our DGP of Manipur has stated , the credibility of the Congress ministry will be increased at this time of pre-election fever and will contribute to the success of the Congress party in the forthcoming Lok-Sabha election.