‘Make Delhi police’s standing orders public’

‘Make Delhi police’s standing orders public’

By AREEBA FALAK | NEW DELHI | 2 September, 2017
Standing Orders, RTI, PSO for individuals, noise control regulations, Delhi Police website, FIR, licencing, training, appointments, investigations

Five volumes of Standing Orders, spanning approximately 3,575 pages, are kept in the Delhi Police headquarters, but can be accessed only through RTI applications and are not openly available for public viewing. This has emerged from an RTI that had been filed regarding the status of Standing Orders in Delhi Police, raising questions why the Delhi Police does not upload these Standing Orders on its website for public viewing. Mohit Kumar Gupta, the advocate who had filed the RTI, told The Sunday Guardian, “I fail to understand why the Standing Orders, having crucial information like FIR registration process, provision of PSO for individuals, noise control regulations and other information, are not uploaded on the Delhi Police website. If the legal provisions meant to be followed are not provided to the public, one cannot seek justice in its entirety. The police must be extremely transparent to elicit public confidence.” “Standing Orders” are extended guidelines in addition to the existing law that are issued by the commissioner of Police as and when required. At present, no Standing Order can be made public without the permission of the commissioner.  Requesting anonymity, a Delhi Police staff member in the Records Branch, said, “Yes, there are five volumes of Standing Orders with us that are uploaded on the Delhi Police’s internal server. These can be accessed anytime by any of the police personnel to refer to procedures, guidelines etc. But they are not made public  because they deal with internal police functions, like guidelines to be followed for licencing, training, appointments, investigations, and other day-to-day police activities.”However, petitioner Mohit Kumar Gupta explained, “Providing information under RTI is a statutory duty and it promotes transparency in police functioning. Standing Orders are guidelines for functioning of the police force and are issued by the commissioner, only with the objective of remedying the implementation gaps and creating policies which shall help people find justice.”Gupta quoted an order dated 28.02.2017 [CC/1167/17] passed by Sh. Anuj Agarwal, Ld. MM (for P.S. Neb Sarai and Hauz Khas) that said, “The police station being one of the important public institutions for dispensation of justice, in my considered view, it should be easily accessible to the public at large.” Gupta added, “The Standing Orders having proper and detailed information regarding supply of copy of FIR, uploading of FIR, provision of security to individuals etc., are meant for the larger public interest and dispensation of justice.” Responding to the proposal of making Standing Orders mandatorily public, Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman IPS officer, said, “I think this needs to be thought through within the department first and then they ought to take a call—order by order. All its pros and cons need to be understood. People have a right to know. Certainly. But more important is the training of cops in this.” Bedi added that litigation was a downside of making Standing Orders public. However, some Standing Orders relating to Women and Child protection cell of Delhi Police are already public and have been uploaded on the Delhi Police website. 

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