Twenty-Eight years after the NN Vohra Committee report on criminalisation of politics highlighted the nexus between criminals, politicians and bureaucrats, the issue has hit the headlines once again. The Supreme Court has expressed serious concern over the alleged nexus between bureaucrats — especially police officers — and politicians. “I was at one time thinking of creating standing committees to examine atrocities and complaints against bureaucrats, particularly police officers, headed by the chief justices of the high courts,” CJI NV Ramana said last week. The comments came during hearing on petitions filed by senior IPS officer Gurjinder Pal Singh — suspended Director of Chhattisgarh’s Police Academy — challenging FIRs lodged against him for offences of sedition, corruption and extortion.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first such incident. In recent times, many senior police officers have come under the scanner for hobnobbing with politicians in a questionable manner. Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh — who levelled allegations of corruption against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh — is missing. A lookout notice has been issued to trace him as he faces several criminal cases. Certain alleged videos, leaked on social media, have linked self-proclaimed antique collector and YouTuber Monson Mavunkal to Kerala Congress president K Sudhakaran and state police DIG S Surendran. It’s sad to see civil servants — once described by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as the ‘steel frame of India’ — facing such allegations.
German social scientist Max Weber described political neutrality and anonymity as important tenets of modern bureaucracy which insulated bureaucrats from politicisation and made them professional. But recent developments clearly allude to deviation from the Weberian model. Undoubtedly, such allegations against top police officers undermine people’s faith in the rule of law and dent the credibility of the State system. Given the fact that the political class stands accused of wrongdoing in such cases, it would be unrealistic to expect governments to take corrective measures. Having identified the problem, it’s incumbent upon the Supreme Court to issue necessary directions to rid India of this menace.