n a democratic polity, which is founded on the bedrock of rule of law, maintenance of peace and order assumes paramount importance. Public order is synonymous with peace, safety and tranquility of the community. Maintenance of public order is a core function of governance. The Indian Constitution, while according a pre-eminent position for the fundamental rights of citizens, recognizes the importance of public order, by providing for legislation imposing reasonable restrictions in the interest of public order. Under the Constitution of India, the Union and the federating units, that is, the States have well-defined areas of responsibility. 'Public Order' and 'Police' are essentially the responsibilities of State Governments. However, the Central Government assists them by providing Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) as and when required.
The Administrative Reforms Commission is looking at ‘Public Order’ with a view to suggest a framework to strengthen administrative machinery to maintain public order conducive to social harmony and economic development. And also to build capacity for conflict resolution. ARC is looking into all aspects of the subject therefore the focus is on studying the causes of public disorder, how early symptoms of disorder should be detected and addressed well in time, what should be the role of various stakeholders in maintenance of public order, how the enforcement machinery should be made more effective to deal with public disorder. The Commission is examining the subject by focusing on its components namely causes of conflicts and their resolution, secondly the role of civil administration, media, society, Judiciary and NGOs in maintaining public order, and thirdly the role of police and the need for reforms. Accordingly each one of these is being discussed in great length in three separate workshops. In the first workshop which is being organized jointly with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), the role of civil administration and other stakeholders would be discussed, in the second workshop, which is being organized jointly with CPR and the Kannada University the different types of conflicts in the Indian Society would be discussed, and in the third workshop being organized jointly with the National Police Academy the Role of Police would be discussed.
The aim of the first workshop on public order is to identify the salient lessons we can learn from a variety of experiences in dealing with public disorder. The workshop will help the ARC to think through some of the challenges posed for the maintenance of public order by the role of the four agencies namely the civil administration, the judicial interventions, the civil society and the media. How can these agencies be strengthened to make them promoters of a more humane public order? What are some of the difficulties that actors in these different domains face? What are some of the commonly leveled criticisms of these agencies? Do these criticisms need some administrative or legal response? What explains the success of failure of these agencies on some occasions. Although the focus of the workshop will be on reforms that can be implemented, this workshop would like to discuss these issues in the widest possible perspective so that new and innovative ideas can be countenanced. The main task of the workshop will be to identify problems and challenges in these domains, and to recommend possible solutions.
The purpose of the second workshop that is on ‘Conflict resolution” is to (a) engage in free and frank discussions about the causes of conflicts in India, (b) arrive at some conclusion about the role and importance of different ethnic factors in the origin and continuance of these conflicts so that (c) fundamental solutions can be proposed to address the deep-rooted causes for the sustainable maintenance of public order. The emphasis will be on coming up with specific recommendations pertaining to administrative reform....
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