Prakash Singh is a retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of 1959 batch of Uttar Pradesh cadre. After retirement, he has often been in the news for taking the legal route to enforce the implementation of police reforms. In December 2022, he appeared in the Sony TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC).
Prakash Singh was born on Friday, 10 January 1936 (age 86 years; as of 2022) in Azamgarh, United Province, British India (now in Uttar Pradesh, India). Their zodiac sign is Capricorn. After completing his schooling, Prakash joined Allahabad University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Later, he earned a Master of Arts degree in History from Allahabad University.
parents and siblings
There is not much information available about his parents and siblings.
wife and children
His wife’s name is Savitri. His son, Pankaj Kumar Singh, is an IPS officer and former Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF). His son, Piyush Kumar Singh, is a corporate executive and entrepreneur who lives in the United States.
Prakash Singh was posted as Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in Kanpur in 1959. Later, he was promoted to the post of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).
In 1965, he was posted to the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in Kohima (now in Nagaland). There he participated in counter-insurgency operations to defeat Naga insurgents. According to Prakash, the militants had ordered his murder and had also placed a reward on his head. Talking about this he said,
It was a scary time. I remember that the Naga militants had issued an order for my death. Following the order, a bounty was placed on my head. After that, it was a cat and mouse game.
Prakash served in Kohima till 1968. During the rise of militancy in Punjab, Prakash was appointed as the Inspector General (IG) of the Punjab Frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF). Prakash was credited with devising strategies that led to the decline of insurgency in Punjab. Later, to reduce infiltration from Pakistan into the Indian side of Punjab, Prakash conducted a study on the deployment of fencing along the international border with Pakistan, which yielded fruitful results. Later, he was posted to Meerut, where he served as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG). In 1991, Prakash was posted to Assam as Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam Police. However, Prakash requested the Chief Minister of Assam to remove him from the post as he could not handle the constant interference of the state government in police matters. Talking about this he said,
I told the CM in writing to please remove me. “I am not able to work to the best of my abilities due to constant interference from the government.”
Prakash was DGP of UP Police twice. His first term began on 22 July 1991; However, he was removed from his post on 30 September 1992 after refusing to comply with the CM’s order to reduce security around the then disputed Ram Temple site. Prakash was reinstated as DGP of UP Police on 23 December 1992 after the demolition of Babri Masjid. On 8 June 1993, he was removed from his post after some policemen complained against him to the Home Ministry because he had taken disciplinary action against policemen for corruption and misconduct. Talking about this during an interview he said,
Apparently, I was called to the Home Ministry to take strict action against some corrupt police officers. They united and filed a complaint against me with HM. When I reached there, HM fired at me but I stood firm on my point. Later he asked me to leave as there was no point in talking, I saluted and left. While going back, my orderly was ready with my transfer order and I was asked to hand over my charge to a new DGP in just two hours. They also tried to suspend me, but nothing was found against me to suspend me.
As DGP of UP Police, he conducted several operations against the mafias operating in the state. Prakash later attended a 4-month course at the Administrative Staff College, Australia. On 9 June 1993, Prakash assumed the post of Director General (DG) of the Border Security Force (BSF). As Director General, he emphasized modernization of the force deployed in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. He served in BSF till 31 January 1994. Prakash retired from service in 1994.
After retiring from the police service, Prakash Singh served as an expert in the selection of All India Civil Services officers with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). In 2007, he served as the chairman of the committee formed by the Allahabad High Court to decriminalize politics in Uttar Pradesh. He remained president till 2008. In 2008, he was appointed by the Planning Commission as a member of its expert panel to study the challenges faced by the government in extremism affected areas. From 2013 to 2014, he served as a member of the National Security Advisory Board.
PIL in Supreme Court
According to Prakash Singh, the police force in India still functions according to the colonial era provisions of the Police Act of 1861. Seeking modernization of the functionality of the police force, he filed a PIL in the Supreme Court in 1996. In the lawsuit, Prakash demanded that all states should adopt seven recommendations made by the National Police Commission of 1977. The recommendations were –
- The tenure for which a DGP serves in the state should be fixed so that police officers retiring from their service are not appointed to the post.
- To determine the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IG) of a state to reduce political interference in police functioning.
- Establishment of State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA), which will take action against corrupt police officers on public complaints.
- Establishment of State Security Commission (SSC), comprising IAS, IPS and PCS officers.
- Establishment of National Security Commission (NSC).
- To implement new investigation, law and order policies in every state to improve the efficiency of the police force.
- Every state should have a Police Establishment Board (PEB), which will look after the posting of police officers in the state. This will reduce political interference while giving posting to police officers.
In 2006, the Supreme Court gave its verdict in favor of Prakash Singh and directed all states to implement the recommendation made by the National Police Commission; However, as of 2021, only 18 states have passed a resolution to implement the recommendations. In an interview, Prakash Singh also claimed that he had approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to speed up the implementation of police reforms, but was turned down by India’s then NSA.
- The Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for distinguished police service in 1991.
- He was awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service and Police Medal for Distinguished Service by the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
- Prakash Singh has written many books including Irregular War: The Maoist Challenge to India’s Internal Security, India’s Northeast: The Frontier in Ferment, Histoire du Naxalism (French), Kohima to Kashmir: On the Terrorist Trail, The Naxalite Movement in India, The Struggle Have written books. For Police Reforms in India: From Ruler’s Police to People’s Police, and more.
- In 2003, when Naxalites tried to assassinate Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh government appointed him to investigate the matter. He submitted a detailed report on 6 February 2004.
- In 2014, he appeared in a talk show called Satyamev Jayate.
- In October 2015, Prakash Singh took over as the Chairman of the New Delhi-based Indian Police Foundation and Institute.
- The Haryana government appointed Prakash in February 2016 to submit a report on the role of civil administration and police officials during the Jat reservation movement. He submitted the report within 71 days. According to Prakash, he was to submit two reports on the incident, but the government asked him to stop his work as the second report contained his recommendations for improving the functioning of the state police force. In an interview he said,
The first report was on the riots during the Jat protests over reservation and the second was to look at police reforms. However, the Haryana government had given me in writing that it did not want another report. The Government have told me that they will implement the suggestions made in the first report and there is no need for a second report. However, my first report was not comprehensive but only on the acts of omission and commission of the officers.
- In 2018, Prakash Singh was honored by Maneka Gandhi at an Indian Federation of Working Journalists event.
- Prakash Singh became an Associate Fellow at the US-based Joint Special Operations University (JSOU).
- Prakash Singh is also a member of Vivekananda International Foundation.
- Prakash Singh has written many articles for many newspapers.
- On 27 December 2022, Prakash Singh was seen in Sony TV’s show Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC).