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Abolition of Revenue Police System in Uttarakhand: A Historic Change


Split screen of old revenue police and modern regular police in Uttarakhand
From past to present: Evolution of Uttarakhand's police system

Introduction

The state of Uttarakhand, nestled in the serene hills of northern India, is set to undergo a significant transformation. Recently, the Uttarakhand High Court mandated the state government to abolish the archaic revenue police system within a year, handing over all its jurisdictions to the regular police. This landmark decision aims to modernize the law enforcement framework in the region, ensuring better safety and justice for its residents.


Understanding the Revenue Police System

Uttarakhand stands unique as the only state in India where the revenue police system operates alongside the regular police. This system, manned by officials from the revenue department, holds limited authority and primarily oversees the remote rural areas of the hill state. Unlike the regular police, revenue police personnel lack formal police training and adequate facilities, hampering their ability to effectively handle crimes.


Historical Context

The roots of the revenue police system in Uttarakhand trace back to the 1800s. After the rulers of Tehri Garhwal lost their territories to the Gurkhas, they sought British assistance to reclaim their land. In exchange for their help, the British retained the western part of Garhwal and instituted a revenue collection system, similar to the administrative practices of the Mughal era. This system included roles like patwari, kanungo, and lekhpal, but no dedicated police force for the hills, which were then considered low-crime areas.


Why the Change?

This move towards abolishing the revenue police system is not sudden. The necessity for this change has been felt and voiced over the years:

  1. Supreme Court’s Observation (2004): In the case of Navin Chandra vs State Government, the Supreme Court highlighted the need to abolish the revenue police system, citing the lack of training and basic facilities for revenue police as major drawbacks.

  2. High Court’s Orders (2018): The Uttarakhand High Court had previously ordered the removal of the revenue police system, emphasizing the need for a more competent and trained police force.

  3. State Cabinet Resolution (2022): The state cabinet passed a resolution to phase out the revenue police system, marking a significant step towards this reform.


The Path Forward

The directive to abolish the revenue police system by May 2025 is a progressive step towards strengthening law enforcement in Uttarakhand. This transition will bring several benefits:

  • Enhanced Training: Regular police officers receive rigorous training, equipping them to handle various types of crimes more efficiently.

  • Improved Facilities: Regular police are better resourced, enabling them to investigate and resolve crimes more effectively.

  • Increased Accountability: With a single, unified police force, accountability and oversight will improve, leading to better governance and public trust.


Conclusion

The abolition of the revenue police system in Uttarakhand marks the end of a nearly century-old practice and the beginning of a new era of law enforcement in the state. This change promises to enhance the safety and security of the residents, especially in the remote hill areas, by ensuring that they receive the same level of protection and justice as those in more accessible regions. As Uttarakhand moves forward with this significant reform, it sets an example of modernization and progress for other states to follow.

Stay tuned as we continue to cover this pivotal transformation and its impact on the beautiful state of Uttarakhand.

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