Indian Police – A force NOT to be reckoned with
-Ben Jose Jose
It’s a well-known fact that the Indian police is one of the most feared individuals in India. Everyday stories emerge of police taking the law into their own hands and yet we do nothing about it because we believe criminals deserve punishment for whatever wrong they’ve done. This mindset is not only unconstitutional but honestly childlike.
The reason this is childish is because that’s how this concept originated. Parents tell their children that if they commit a crime then the police will arrest them. The concept of a justice system is too hard to explain and therefore they leave it at that. But the fact is a large majority of people still believe this concept. They think if a wrong is committed then they will be punished by police officers. This is just blatantly wrong because then the whole idea of a legal justice system is lost and we’re simply living in a dictatorship.
- Right to know the grounds of arrest: Section 50(1) CrPC provides “every police officer or other person arresting any person without a warrant shall forthwith communicate to him full particulars of the offence for which he is arrested or other grounds for such arrest.”. Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India states that “No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds of such arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.”
- How the Arrest is made: Section 46 of the CrPC defines this section. A restraint on personal liberty is known as arrest. Unless there is submission to custody by words or conduct, arrests can be made through physical contact. The level of force required is completely dependent on the cooperation of the individual.
- Restraints: Section 49 of the CrPC explains that there should only be enough restraint to prevent escape. But one thing to keep in mind is if anyone is kept under any form of restraint then an arrest should be made.
These are just a few laws protecting every citizen of India during the time of arrest. But the fact is majority of the population is unaware of these rights and the Indian police takes every advantage of it. The sad reality is that Indian citizens view these acts as a normal occurrence among police officers. The lack of education of the people allows the police to bend the laws according to their own needs.
The case of Navi Ullah perfectly explains this problem. Navi Ullah was wrongly accused of a crime by the police and his human rights were violated. In this particular case he was granted compensation for the brutality he suffered, but numerous others aren’t that lucky. The reality is that majority of the population is unphased by this because they believe that if an individual is arrested by the police, you either admit to the crime or they force you to. An NLU report from the year 2017 stated that out of 92 prisoners who are awaiting death row, 72 of them confessed to a crime they never committed due to police violence.
Movies and Media
One of the major sources of entertainment for majority of Indians is the thousands of movies produced in the country. Amongst some of those movies there are protagonists who portray the Indian police and often these police officers are shown to take the law into their own hands. Now the movie is allowed to write their stories for entertainment purposes but Indian people adore film stars and often see them as God’s. So, if they see their ‘hero’ beat a man to pulp for allegedly stealing a purse, then the general population is going to get conditioned to seeing the cops act this way. Also, other officers who watch such movies get inspired to try different ways to achieve justice.
One of the major reasons people support and applaud these acts is because often the justice system fails them. People have lost hope in the criminal justice system. According to the National Crime Reports Bureau 1,56,327 rape cases were on trial in the year 2018. Out of these only 17,313 cases were put on trial. Out of which there was only conviction of 4,708 cases. This shows that our criminal justice system is extremely slow and leaves the general public frustrated and helpless. So, if they’re given a chance to receive justice through any other means they will take it.
In the gruesome case of Dr. Priyanka Reddy the accused individuals were shot by the police at the scene of the crime. When later asked about why the shooting happened SP Sajjanar said that the accused tried to flee and therefore an ‘encounter’ happened. This was reasonable enough for the general public, so no further actions were taken. The cops were praised with sweets and celebration. Social media was flooded with congratulations. But is this really the justice Dr. Reddy deserved? Wasn’t it the right of the men to represent themselves in court? This sets a dangerous precedence for future cases and one day when the wrong man gets shot, we will be held accountable.
COVID-19 and the reign of cops
It is no question that COVID-19 has affected the world like none other. Without a cure in sight the safest way to prevent death is to simply stay at home and the government has set strict rules to make sure this takes place. But obviously supplies at home cannot last forever which forces people out of their homes to buy essential items which is completely legal. But the Indian police sees this as an opportunity to practice their batting skills on the bodies of Indian citizens.
A 32-year old man who went out to buy milk was beaten up by the local police and the man felt so ashamed that he decided to take his own life. Videos of a police man slapping a female doctor who was on her way to the hospital has emerged. Cops have decided to take any means necessary to prevent people from even stepping out of their homes. In a developed country like the U.S.A. there are people protesting quarantine and the police cannot do anything because the people know their rights. Whereas in India if a police officers decides to harm an individual, he can do so without anyone batting an eye.
The police department without a doubt has a lot of work to do. They need to be held accountable for the work they do. But it wouldn’t be completely fair to a few individuals like Vinod Kumar Chaubey, Mohan Chand Sharma, Hemant Karkare, Ashok Kamte, Vijay Salaskar, K. Prasad Babu, Ajit Kumar Doval and Shivdeep Waman Land who have given up their lives for the betterment of our country. Being a police officer is not an easy job. It not only has a lot of physical constraints but the mental ones are even tougher. In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown a lot of brave men are stepping up to the challenge of protecting us. Even though their means of enforcing it is questionable, it takes a huge effort to not fear the deadly virus and come into work every day.
As citizens of a democratic country there is no need to fear anyone if you are a law-abiding citizen. There is no need to fear criminals and there is especially no need to fear the Indian police. The government uses our tax money to pay officers to protect us and therefore they need to take necessary steps to ensure that the people feel safe around them. The Indian police is not judge, jury and executioner. We have a justice system for that. Even though it’s a long process we cannot lose faith in our system and give it to the hands of the police. If there is anything you take out of this it is simply to find out who your town SI is. Save their numbers to your phone and in the time of need do not hesitate for a second to call for help.
Author: Ben Jose Jose,
IFIM law college. 1st year