Navoneel
Commission of crimes but unfortunately a proper investigation process is not being conducted because the accused himself is a police officer: A critical analysis and how Courts are dealing with these types of errant cops.
Navoneel Karmakar 19 Feb 2021

Commission of crimes but unfortunately a proper investigation process is not being conducted because the accused himself is a police officer: A critical analysis and how Courts are dealing with these types of errant cops.

INTRODUCTION:

If an individual commits a crime, then a proper investigation must be conducted by the police officials. It is a duty of the police department to conduct all the necessary steps which are mentioned in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and it is the duty of the judiciary to give proper punishment to the accused person. It is true that when a crime is being committed a proper investigation also has been conducted by the police officials but at the same time in many cases it has been also found that, a proper investigation has not been conducted by the police officials because the perpetrator himself is a police man. Article 14 of Indian Constitution tells us about Right to Equality or Equality before Law, which means every person in this country is equal in the eyes of law. If a police official has committed a crime then a proper investigation and trial must be initiated against him/her.

 

MISINTERPRETATION OF POWERS:

Now a days most of the police officials try to show themselves as the most hardworking and the most sincere officer in the police department. Whenever anyone is framed by the police on false accusations, their stock excuse is that once they accept a report, they are obliged to file a case and prosecute. In other terms, they try to project that they are so conscientious that they have to examine every single word that has been narrated before them. Supreme Court in a case State of West Bengal Vs. Swapan Kumar Guha, (1982) held that an FIR cannot be investigated by the police officials if that FIR does not uncover the commission of a cognizable offence. There is another case, Lalita Kumari Vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh, (2013), where the Supreme Court had held that, according to Section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a police officer can shut down an FIR before the investigation if it seems to him that there is not enough ground to examine the same matter.

According to Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment)      Act, 2008, it is not necessary to arrest an accused, rather the police officials can issue a notice with the subject ‘Notice of Appearance’ to the accused for any type of offence which is punishable with imprisonment up to seven years. In the case of Lalita Kumari, The Supreme Court held that while the registration of the FIR pursuant to Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is compulsory, the arrest of the accused immediately upon registration of the FIR is not at all compulsory. Unfortunately, amid such exalted pronouncements, the police still use detention as a major weapon for abuse.

 

IMPROPER INVESTIGATION:

When a police officer is the perpetrator in a particular offence, then the investigation department does not bother to conduct a proper investigation because the perpetrator himself is a member of the investigation department. Recently, Justice Tanaji Nalawade and Justice Mukund Sewlikar of Aurangabad Bench of Bombay High Court had pulled up Maharashtra Police Force by stating that police officials do not investigate a matter seriously because the accused himself is a police officer. The Bench was hearing a petition regarding improper investigations which were being conducted in a hit and run case where a motorist was struck down by a police sub-inspector. The Bench directed the Commissioner of Police, Aurangabad Police to look into this matter personally. The petition addressed the illegal prosecution of the case by the Aurangabad City Police, in particular the fact that the accused was a police officer.

Having searched the material on the record, the Court was of the view that the police had not reported a panchnama of the car seizure. The Court also noted that, because there was no panchnama, it was difficult to validate the testimony of the eyewitnesses who all said that a grey car had dashed the motorist. According to the Court there were serious allegations against the police sub-inspector however, no seriousness was shown and no proper investigation was conducted by the investigation team. The Court also stated that, when there are complaints against an employee in the agency, further caution has to be taken by the investigation officer, and such type of officers must present in the investigation team. Such an officer is not supposed to defend the person in his or her department, but has to be more serious as the name of the department is concerned with such matters.

The Court was also of the view that, not only has the crime of causing the crash & death has been committed, but other crimes of not taking care of the dead and not telling the authorities of the incident are also being committed by the accused. The Court had directed the Commissioner of Police to visit the accident site and personally look into the matter. The Court also directed the Commissioner of Police to change the investigating officer and also initiate an action against the investigating officer.

 

CONCLUSION:

Though it is said that “everyone is equal before the law”, in India, it is often found that police officers are corrupt and involved in several types of crimes and investigation and proper legal procedures are not conducted against them. Police are government workers for the well-being and protection of citizens, and are expected not to commit any act which is illegal or unacceptable in the eyes of law. It is quite unfortunate to find that these police department people are let go off without any investigation of the crimes committed by them. Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Thus, to make justice to this, all human beings must be treated equally irrespective of their race, caste, colour, gender, religion and disabilities and no government worker should be given preference because everybody deserves justice. 

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