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Source: This post is based on the article “Towards a more humane police force” published in The Hindu on 30th August 2021.
Relevance: To understand the requirements of police reforms.
Synopsis: Efforts are on to improve the human rights protection regime in police stations.
Recently, the Chief Justice of India expressed his concerns about the human rights violations in police stations. The violations happen despite various constitutional safeguards and guarantees. Unfortunately, the threat to human rights violation & bodily integrity is highest in police stations. Since the police are meant to protect human rights, efforts are needed to improve the situation in the police stations.
Findings of National crime Record Bureau:
According to NCRB, the number of deaths in police custody varies every year. The data reveals that:
- 100 custodial deaths have taken place every year between 2010 -2019.
- Of these deaths,
- 3.5% have been due to injuries caused by the police
- 28.1 % because of suicide
- 8.6 %, while escaping custody
- Rest, due to other different reasons like illness etc.
- A judicial enquiry is mandatory for suspicious deaths. It has been conducted only in 26.4 cases.
- On average, about 47.2 criminal cases were registered annually against policemen in the last 10 years.
When Arrest should not be made?
Read the following articles.
- SC- Arrest should not be done as routine
- SC- Arrest is not always a must
- SC reminds lower courts, cops to avoid unnecessary arrests. But bureaucratic habits die hard
Supreme court judgements to protect human rights:
The Supreme Court has pronounced many judgements to strengthen the human rights regime. For instance,
- In Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar (2014): The SC held that even though the offence is non-bailable, an arrest is not mandatory as per Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
- In Special Action Forum vs Union of India (2018): The SC held, the police officer shall explain to the magistrate the reasons which necessitated the arrest for further detention of the accused.
- In Prakash Singh vs Union of India (2006): The SC recommended separating the investigating police from law and order police to ensure better expertise in the investigation. Similar, recommendations have been given by the National Police Commission (1977-81), 154th Law Commission report (1996) & Malimath committee (2003).
- Malimath committee also recommended that investigation officers should not investigate more than 10 cases a year.
- In DK Basu vs State of Bengal (1996): The SC laid down the guidelines to check custodial torture and also mentioned steps to increase transparency & responsibility of police officers during an arrest.
- In Paramvir Singh vs Baljit Singh (2020): The SC directed states to cover more areas of police stations under CCTV & to maintain a storage facility for audio-video recording for 18 months
What needs to be done?
- Training of police persons to sensitize and encourage them to adopt scientific tools of interrogation. For instance, Narco test, Lie detector test etc.
- As was mentioned by the Home ministry, India needs to link police modernization with police reforms to create a police force that can meet the demands of contemporary times.
Terms to know