The Uttarakhand government has announced that it will be replacing the revenue police system in the state with regular police. The decision comes after months of controversy surrounding the handling of the Ankita Bhandari murder case. Bhandari, a 19-year-old receptionist at a resort, was found murdered in September 2022. The incident sparked outrage and allegations of corruption against the revenue police, who were responsible for the area where the crime took place.
As a result, the government has decided to transfer the areas currently patrolled by revenue police to the regular police force in a phased manner. The border of 52 police stations and 19 police posts will be expanded in the first phase. The transfer is being seen as necessary due to the increasing number of crimes requiring technical expertise and swift action.
Under the revenue police system, officials from the revenue department were given the powers and functions of regular police, including the ability to file FIRs, investigate cases, arrest suspects, and file chargesheets in local courts. With the abolition of this system, these duties will now be performed by the state police. The Pushkar Singh Dhami government has also notified that the state’s revenue villages will be brought under the jurisdiction of regular police.
Uttarakhand was the only state in India that still used the revenue police system, also known as the patwari system, which was introduced by the British government in 1861 as a way to cut costs by using revenue officials as police officers. This system was officially recognized in 1915 by an administrative order from the Lt. Governor of United Province. With Uttarakhand now abolishing this system, it has been abolished throughout all of India.