Guwahati: A suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) registered by the Gauhati High Court for implementing police reforms recently has prompted the Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh governments to take measures to separate the investigation wing from the law and order wings of police in their respective states.
The division bench of the Chief Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Mitali Thakuria had directed the state governments of Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to file affidavits regarding compliance of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in a case on police reforms.
Subsequently, the Mizoram government has assured the Gauhati High Court that it would soon bring on record an affidavit relating to the constitution of the police accountability commission. The state has also taken steps to separate its investigation wing from the law and order wing.
Similarly, the Nagaland government has issued a formal notification for separation of the investigation and law and order wings of police. The state has constituted the State Level Police Complaint Authority and District Level Police Complaint Authority instead of constituting a separate police accountability commission.
On the other hand, the Arunachal Pradesh government has submitted that it has imparted training of investigation skills among 84 investigating officers of the investigation wing based on directions of the Supreme Court.
The state has also filed an affidavit on March 15, 2023, wherein it has been stated that separation has been made in the investigation wing and the law and order wings of the police department in the state.
The Assam government also submitted that a proposal has been made to deploy a minimum of 15 percent of the unarmed branch (UB) strength of all ranks in the police stations/outposts to be exclusively assigned for investigation duties and such officers will not be deployed for any law and order duties.
It was further informed to the court that from the total strength of 20,130 unarmed branch officials – inspector and below, around 3020 personnel have at present been assigned exclusively for crime investigation duties.
Senior government advocate, Assam, D Nath submitted that these shortlisted police officials would be provided specialised training for crime and investigation at the North Eastern Police Academy (NEPA) and other suitable training centres.
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The High Court was also informed by the advocate that the action of designating police personnel exclusively for investigation duties would in no manner be construed to mean that the other police personnel regularly deployed at the police stations would not be used for investigation purposes and that their engagement in such tasks would not be compromised.
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