Better policing, please: Court observations on investigations in Delhi riots should be required reading for all major police forces

Source: This post is based on the article “Better policing, please: Court observations on investigations in Delhi riots should be required reading for all major police forces” published in The Times of India on 1st September 2021.

Relevance: Understand lapses in the police investigation.

Synopsis: There are few major lapses in the police investigation. These can be corrected by paying heed to the advice of the Delhi court.

Introduction

Recently, the police investigation in the February 2020 riots case has come under the scanner of Delhi Trial Courts. These critical observations have to be considered seriously during the police investigations in the country.

What are the judicial observations about the police investigations?

Inconsistency: The courts noted many inconsistencies in witness statements, which should have been noted by police during their investigation.

Poor Evidence: In multiple bail orders, judges have cited poor evidence as to their reason for granting bail. For example, in the context of the Delhi High court’s bail for three anti-CAA activists in June, despite they have been charged with the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), the police were not able to produce strong convicting evidence.

Policing methods: Courts are also finding basic lapses in policing methods. E.g. In one case involving acid burn injuries to police personnel, police did not collect chemical samples from the crime scene for forensic analysis.

The behaviour of investigating officers: Investigating officers are not briefing prosecutors properly or answering their queries.

Methods of framing charges: In some cases, investigation appeared “inefficient” and “unproductive”. Police are framing charges of vandalism without thinking how such evidence and the investigation will withstand a higher degree of scrutiny during trials. For example, in a riot victim’s gunshot injury complaint, police had clubbed this case with incidents from other localities of some other day.

How can the investigation be improved?

If Police all over India pay close attention to the Delhi court’s observations, investigation processes can be made efficient, which will help in the quick delivery of Justice.

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