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Abolition of Revenue Police System in Uttarakhand

  • 23 May 2024
  • 2 min read

Why in News?

Recently, the Uttarakhand High Court has directed the state government to totally abolish the system of revenue police within a year and hand over areas under its jurisdiction to regular police.

  • Uttarakhand is the only state in the country where the system of revenue police coexists alongside regular police.

Key Points

  • Revenue police, which is manned by revenue department officials, has limited powers with only remote rural areas of the hill state coming under its jurisdiction.
  • The high court had ordered removal of the nearly a century-old practice of revenue police from the state also in 2018.
  • The state cabinet also passed a resolution in October 2022 for abolishing the revenue police system in a phased manner.
  • In 2004, the Supreme Court, in the case of Navin Chandra vs State Government, had felt the need to abolish this system.
    • The SC had observed that the revenue police are not given training like the regular police.
    • Lack of basic facilities makes it difficult for the revenue police to review a crime.

Revenue Police System

  • The revenue police system in Uttarakhand came into existence in the 1800s when the rulers of Tehri lost their territories to Gurkhas.
    • They requested the British to expel 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.
      • 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.
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