The role of cops in northeast Delhi riots came up in the Supreme Court on Friday in a plea seeking urgent hearing for implementing the 2006 verdict on police reforms which recommended steps like separation of police functions related to investigation and maintaining law and order.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of the submissions of lawyer Prashant Bhushan that the plea be heard urgently and said, "(We) will hear only after Sabarimala (reference matter to be heard by a 9-judge bench) is finished in March."
Referring to one of the directions of the 2006 verdict, Bhushan said it was recommended more than 13 years ago that there should be separation of police functions of investigation and maintaining law and order.
"Till now, it has not been implemented. Look at what is happening in Delhi. Policemen themselves are complicit. They are siding with rioters. How can these policemen themselves be entrusted with investigation," he said.
The death toll in Delhi's communal violence related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has gone up to 42, with 250 people injured.
Bhushan said law and order is an executive function and the investigation is part of the criminal justice delivery system.
The apex court, while deciding the PIL filed by two former DGPs, Prakash Singh and N K Singh in 2006, had issued several directions, including that state police chiefs will have a fixed tenure of two years.
It had said the appointment of DGPs and police officers should be merit-based and transparent and officers like DGPs and Superintendents of Police should have a minimum fixed tenure of two years.
It had ordered setting up of a state security commission to ensure that the government does not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.
The court had recommended separation of police functions of investigation and maintaining law and order.
It had ordered setting up of a Police Establishment Board to decide and make recommendations on transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of police officers of and below the rank of DSPs.
It had also ordered setting up of a Police Complaints Authority in each state to look into complaints against officers of and above the rank of SP in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody.
A National Security Commission needed to be set up at the union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of chiefs of the Central Police Organisations with a minimum tenure of two years, the apex court had ordered.