Author: Suyash Tripathi
Institution: Amity Law School , Gwalior
The Police Authorities in India are regulated under The Police Act , 1861. Police is society’s most important organizations. Police department is accountable for upholding law and order in communities and is responsible for preservation of public safety. But at times these police authorities abuse their authority to threaten people while undertaking investigation. The law enforced in India gave the people much control but due to lack of awareness population undergoes torture , molestation , violence as exercised by the police officers. A large no. of people die while in prison due to the use of excessive and unwanted force practiced on them. No person is above Law in India as stated in Preamble of Indian Constitution. The rule of Law prevails in India. Thus, such brutality and use of excessive force must be stopped and awareness must be spread in the local public as it is the need on the hour.
POLICE BRUTALITY IN INDIA : WHY ?
While we have witnessed the great uproar on social media recently regarding the murder of George Floyd and brutality of police towards him in The United States of America , we have witnessed a considerable silence in the murder case of Hira Bajania , aged 65 , who was beaten, stripped , abused and tortured sexually till he died. George Floyd was from the black community and Hira Bajania was from the Nat Bajania community of people . Thus , it is prima facie visible that they were tortured and beaten to death because they belong to the disadvantaged communities of people. Also , a report by Common cause and the study for Developing Societies with the title “Status of Policing in India Report 2019” states an important bias against Muslims. The police personnel surveyed under this report reported tha Muslims are more likely to prone to commit violence. Similar prejudices existed against Adivasis, Dalits, transgenders, and migrants from neighbouring states. It was also revealed in this survey that 1 in 5 police personnel in Bihar had never received Human rights training.
There are 1,926,000 police officers in India as per the report of 2018 which means there is 1 police officer per 100,000 people. Also, the number of prisoners who died in prisons across India amounted to 1,845. The number of deaths is so alarming but the more alarming is the causes registered for these deaths . In most of the cases , causes registered for the death is death as due to natural causes while many of them went unregistered. India’s police authorities are over burdened due to the lack of manpower coupled with inadequate investments in modern techniques of investigation and thus , under political pressure to get results which indirectly means that to get confessions out , torture and brutality towards the accused is the easiest and the simplest option , even if it is at the cost of their life.
It is the point to ponder that Why the police brutality is glorified in Indian Television series and Bollywood movies ? And , The Series or movies which glorify such thing earns in crores , thus normalizing the trend of custodial violence. Thus , proving that we , ourselves , have indirectly supported that.
The people of our country are not aware of their rights against torture and brutality by police personnel and thus undergo such humiliation and violence. There are no awareness campaigns and programs to aware the general public. There are no redressal of their grievances as the cases are not registered by police personnel against their colleagues. Thus , making the situation even worse.
JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS ENHANCING PROTECTIONS
In Rudul Shah v. State of Bihar , AIR 1983 SC 1086 , the petitioner was acquitted by the court in 1968 but was relased from the jail in 1982 , i.e. 14 years thereafter. The State tried to justify the detention for medical treatment of the petitioner for his mental imbalance. The plea was rejected . As an ancillary relief, in a writ of habeas corpus a sum of 35000 Rs. Was granted as compensation as an interim measure , by the Supreme Court without precluding the petitioner from claiming further compensation.
In Prakash Singh v. Union of India , Supreme Court directed the states to establish Police Complaint Authorities at the state and district levels.
In Prakash Kadam etc. v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta and Anr. , it was held by the Supreme Court that police personnel involved in fake encounters will be liable for death penalty , treating it as “rarest of rare” cases.
The most significant case with respect to police custodial authority and ones right is related to DK Basu v. State of West Bengal . This case laid down guidelines that each and every police personnel needed to follow while arresting a person .
These guidelines are as follows:
- All police officers should wear name tag clearly indicating their name and designation.
- Police must enter the entire details of officials of police who are conducting interrogation in a register.
- The Police officer who makes an arrest has to prepare an Arrest Memo that records all the details of the arrest.
- A copy of memo must be delivered to the person arrested.
- The person arrested has the right to inform his/her relative about the arrest.
- The police must take steps to inform the relatives or friends of the arrested person about the arrest.
- The info. Of the arrest should also be sent to district legal aid committee.
- A daily diary should be maintained of all the arrests made in a day .
- The arrested person has the right to get examined medically every 48 hrs. during his/her detention .
- The arrested person has the right to consult a lawyer during his/her interrogation. The police cannot deny the right to consult lawyer.
RIGHTS OF AN ARRESTED PERSON
Every person in the nation is entitled to basic human rights as enshrined under the Universal declaration of Human Rights.
Following are some of the rights of an arrested person :
- Restraint or detention of the person by the police without arrest is illegal.
- Arresting a person without a warrant – if arrested for a cognizable offence under Sec. 41 of the CrPc, the burden is on the police to prove you guilty of the offence before the court.
- A woman can only be arrested by a woman police officer and cannot be arrested before surise and after the sunset.
- Sec. 49 of the CrPc provides for no unnecessary restraint. The police officer cannot use force more than is needed to prevent escape of the arrested person. Such force must be force applied by the arrested person.
- The Indian Constitution protects a person from self-incrimination. Meaning thereby, a person who is compelled by the police officials to give self-incriminating testimony is illegal.
- A confession which is made during police custody is not admissible in the Court of Law. It is a known fact that the torture by police personnel has led to various people confessing to crimes during police custody. The confession made in Court of Law during the trial of the case is admissible as evidence only.
- The arrested person also has the right to get free legal aid. The arrested person is entitled to consult a lawyer and be defended by the lawyer/counsel of their choice.
- The person arrested without a warrant is entitled to be informed that on what grounds he is arrested and if the offence committed is a bailable offence , the accused must be informed of their right to get a bail.
- The police has to follow certain codes of conduct as laid down under Sec. 46 of the CrPc while arresting.
Personnel have the aim of enforcing and upholding the rule of law, not legislation. When the practical authority is granted to police officials, the wrongs they conduct must be kept accountable. The need for restructuring of the police authorities is clear and immediate. Ordinary citizens must be provided with a sense of security and the the grievances of the people must be attended on establishment of an efficient, fair , honest and professional police force. Awareness must be spread at the wider level about the rights of the people so that they do not face such brutality. The Employment in the police should be raised to admit more people in police which will eventually decrease the burden of work on the police officials. New Technologies must be introduced for the Investigation so that police doesn’t adopt brutality as a method to investigate an accused under political pressure.