Uttarakhand Government Abolishes Revenue Police System

Months after allegations were made against local revenue police in the Ankita Bhandari murder case involving the son of a BJP leader, the Uttarakhand government has decided to abolish the revenue policing system in the state. The Pushkar Singh Dhami government has also announced that revenue villages will be brought under the regular policing system. Law and order in 1,800 revenue villages of Uttarakhand will now be handled by the state police, according to a statement by the Chief Minister's Office.

Background on Ankita Bhandari Murder Case

The demand to replace the revenue police system in Uttarakhand gained traction during the investigation into the Ankita Bhandari murder case in September 2022. Ankita, a 19-year-old who worked as a receptionist at a resort run by Pulkit Arya, the son of expelled BJP leader Vinod Arya, was found dead in the Chilla canal in Rishikesh on September 24 after going missing for six days. The area was under the jurisdiction of the revenue police. Allegations were raised against the revenue police for not registering a complaint on time and even siding with the accused.

Abolition of Revenue Police System

In response to these allegations, the Uttarakhand government has decided to abolish the revenue police system. The government has announced that 1,800 villages will be brought under regular police jurisdiction. In the first phase, the borders of 52 police stations and 19 police posts will be expanded, according to the statement by the Chief Minister's Office.

Transition to Regular Policing System

Chief Minister Dhami has emphasized that many criminal activities requiring technical skill and quick action are taking place in the state. As a result, there is a need to transfer the areas of revenue police to regular police in a phased manner. Under the current revenue police system, civil officials of the revenue department have the powers and functions of regular police. When a crime occurs, the revenue police of the area file an FIR, investigate the case, arrest the accused, and file a chargesheet in the local court.

On December 17, the Uttarkhand Police filed a charge sheet against the three accused in the Ankita Bhandari murder case and submitted it to the Kotdwar Judicial Court. Pulkit Arya was arrested for allegedly pushing Ankita into the canal following an altercation. Two other individuals, Ankit Gupta and Saurabh Bhaskar, have also been arrested in the case. The Uttarakhand Police have stated that only narco tests of the accused remain to be completed.

With the abolition of the revenue police system and the transition to regular policing in the state, the government hopes to improve law and order in Uttarakhand and prevent future incidents like the Ankita Bhandari murder from occurring. The regular police will have the resources and expertise to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes, ensuring justice for victims and their families.

How did the revenue police system come into existence in Uttarakhand?

The revenue police system in Uttarakhand came into existence in the 1800s when the rulers of Tehri lost their territories to Gurkhas and requested the British to oust the Gurkhas from Garhwal in exchange for payment. After the war, the rulers were unable to pay and in exchange, the British kept the western part of Garhwal. In order to collect revenues from the natural resources and minerals found in present-day Uttarakhand, the British put in place a revenue system with the posts of patwari, kanungo, lekhpal, etc., similar to the Mughal administration.

Why was it decided that no special police was needed in the hill parts of Uttarakhand?

It was decided that no special police was needed in the hill parts of Uttarakhand because the hills saw little crime, and it was therefore deemed unnecessary to have a dedicated police force.

What is the main problem with the revenue police system?

The main problem with the revenue police system is that revenue officials are given the additional task of policing with minimal or no training. This results in their inability to effectively prevent criminal activities or collect intelligence, and their limitations in investigations and coordination with other districts or states.

How does the revenue police system in Uttarakhand differ from the regular police system?

The revenue police system in Uttarakhand differs from the regular police system in that revenue officials have the powers and functions of police officers, but do not receive the same level of training. In addition, the hierarchy of the regular police system, which allows for the investigation of a criminal case to be taken over by officials ranging from a Sub-Inspector to a Deputy SP based on the severity of the case, does not exist in the revenue police system.

Why is the revenue police system seen as a threat in Uttarakhand?

The revenue police system is seen as a threat in Uttarakhand because it lacks the resources and expertise to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes, and because it is unable to effectively prevent criminal activities or collect intelligence. This is particularly concerning in a border state like Uttarakhand, which is strategically important, and in a tourist state like Uttarakhand, where cases may be connected to other states.

How does the Police-Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act affect the revenue police system?

The Police-Forces (Restriction of Rights) Act restricts certain rights conferred by the Constitution to members of the police forces in India. Because revenue police officers do not fall under this act, they do not have the same rights as regular police officers.

What are the implications of the revenue police system for tourists in Uttarakhand?

The implications of the revenue police system for tourists in Uttarakhand are that they may not receive the same level of protection and justice as they would with the regular police system. If a crime is committed against a tourist, the revenue police may not have the resources or expertise to effectively investigate and prosecute the case, and may not be able to coordinate with other districts or states if necessary.

What action has the Uttarakhand government taken in response to the issues with the revenue police system?

In response to the issues with the revenue police system, the Uttarakhand government has abolished the system and notified that 1,800 revenue villages will be brought under the regular policing system. This will allow for law and order in these villages to be handled by the state police, who have the resources and expertise to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes and prevent criminal activities. In the first phase, the border of 52 police stations and 19 police posts will be expanded.

What is the core function of revenue officials in other states?

The core function of revenue officials in other states is to maintain land, cultivation, and revenue records of villages, and collect revenues on behalf of the government.

What duties are revenue officials such as patwari and kanungo responsible for?

Revenue officials like patwari and kanungo are responsible for compiling data on crop production, performing election-related duties, and collecting census and literacy data. They are also responsible for implementing government schemes and preparing birth, death, and caste certificates.

Written by princy

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