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India: National-Level Agencies
Country Study > Chapter 10 > National Security > Law Enforcement > National-Level Agencies


The constitution assigns responsibility for maintaining law and order to the states and territories, and almost all routine policing -- including apprehension of criminals -- is carried out by state-level police forces. The constitution also permits the central government to participate in police operations and organization by authorizing the maintenance of the Indian Police Service. Police officers are recruited by the Union Public Service Commission through a competitive nationwide examination. On completion of a nationwide basic public-service course, police officer candidates attend the National Police Academy at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. They are then assigned to particular state or union territory forces, where they usually remain for the rest of their careers. About 50 percent of the officers are regularly assigned to states or territories other than their own in an effort to promote national integration.

The constitution also authorizes the central government to maintain whatever forces are necessary to safeguard national security. Under the terms of the constitution, paramilitary forces can be legally detailed to assist the states but only if so requested by the state governments. In practice, the central government has largely observed these limits. In isolated instances, the central government has deployed its paramilitary units to protect central government institutions over the protest of a state government. During the Emergency of 1975-77, the constitution was amended (effective February 1, 1976) to permit the central government to dispatch and deploy its paramilitary forces without regard to the wishes of the states.

The principal national-level organization concerned with law enforcement is the Ministry of Home Affairs, which supervises a large number of government functions and agencies operated and administered by the central government. The ministry is concerned with all matters pertaining to the maintenance of public peace and order, the staffing and administration of the public services, the delineation of internal boundaries, and the administration of union territories.

In addition to managing the Indian Police Service, the Ministry of Home Affairs maintains several agencies and organizations dealing with police and security. Police in the union territories are the responsibility of the Police Division, which also runs the National Police Academy and the Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science. The Central Bureau of Investigation investigates crimes that might involve public officials or have ramifications for several states. The ministry also is the parent organization of the Border Security Force.

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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