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The Department of Central Reserve Police Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs enacted the Central Reserve Police Force Act on December 28, 1949. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is considered as one of the biggest Central Armed Police Forces in India. The fundamental responsibility of the CRPF is to assist the State Government and the Union Territories in the police acts and to protect the law and order etc. Before the 1949 enactment the CRPF was known as the Crown Representative’s Police.

The Act provides for the Constitution of the Central Reserve Police Force which shall be deemed as the armed force under the control of the Central government. The organization of the force, their salary, pension and other payments shall be as specified under the Act. The force shall consist of Commandant, Assistant Commandants and Company Officers. The powers and functions of the authorities shall be prescribed under the Act. The Act specifically provides that the declarations of the recruiting roll included in the Schedule shall be read out to the person before his appointment in the CRPF and interpreted to him in front of an officer under the force. It shall be acknowledged by the person by affixing his signature in the declaration. But where a person already appointed under the force before six months and thereafter engaged to the CRPF, then this provision does not apply.

The members of the force are not allowed to resign from the force during the period of engagement but shall resign immediately within three months of his appointment. He is not entitled to withdraw under his discretion from his responsibilities unless prior sanction of the Commandant or Assistant Commandant is obtained. The Act imposes duty on the members to punctually abide by the concerned authority and shall implement all the directions and lawful warrants issued to him by such authority. The members shall also identify and bring wrongdoers to justice and apprehend the people according to legal authorization where adequate ground subsists. The members of the CRPF shall have to work within and beyond the Indian Territory.

The Central Government shall have power to supervise and manage the force and the general administration of the force shall be carried out according to the provisions of the Act and rules. When the force is under duty other than out of the headquarters, it shall be under the direction and control of the authority entrusted by the Central Government. Where any of the members instigates, incites, causes or conspires to unite any revolt or exists at any revolt or fails to use his effort to suppress it or he conspire for committing revolt against the nation shall be imprisoned for such term as prescribed under the Act. Such person shall also be punished for the following Acts:

  • Applies criminal force or assault on the senior official;
  • Holds communication with any person in weapons against the nation or fails to discover instantly to his senior official any such communication known to him;
  • Disregards the command of his superior;
  • Departs the commanding official and goes in exploration of stolen goods;
  • Applies criminal force or assault on any person who carries provisions to the CRPF camp or commits house breaking or destroys any assets or property etc.

Additionally, the Act penalizes the CRPF members for less terrible offences like intoxication while on duty, strikes or endeavors to force any patrol, absconds from arrest, declines to assist any fieldwork, willingly causing harm to a person or himself to declare him unhealthy for service etc with minor punishments. The person so imprisoned shall be dismissed from service and all penal deductions shall be made from his payment and allowances.

The Central Government formulated Central Reserve Police Force Rules, 1955 to implement the provisions of the Act effectively. The CRPF is not only concerned with the internal security of the nation but also functions outside India as United Nations Peacekeeping Force. The Commando Battalion for Resolute Action wing has been constituted in 2008 under the CRPF to counteract the actions of the naxalites.