Harita
POLICE BRUTALITY LEADS TO VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Harita Mehta 15 Sep 2020

A duty of a police man is one of the most important functions, not only in India but across the world. A police officer is made to take an oath on the first day of joining to protect the country and the citizens in his best capacity. The sole duty of police officers is to protect the law and order of the country. 

But what happens when the protector becomes the antagonist!? The entire system of truth and justice gets shaken. The foundation of righteousness is degraded.

Police brutality or fake encounters have become a common phenomenon in India. This particular article chiefly focuses upon the powers of police, misuse of those powers, police brutality, and bribe and also how these activities lead to exploitation of citizens in general. 

DEFINITION OF POLICE:

There is no particular definition of Police given in Criminal Procedure Code,1973 as well as in The Police Act, 1881. The police are a designated body of persons appointed by the State with the purpose of enforcing the law, maintaining protection, health and possession of people and preventing crime and civil disorder. The concept is most generally identified with the security forces of a sovereign State that are empowered to exercise the policing powers of that State within a given legal or territorial area of responsibility.

WHAT IS POLICE BRUTALITY?

Police brutality means violation of civil rights of an individual by police officials using excessive force. Excessive force includes bullying, physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage and illegal encounter. Forcing an individual for bribe and unlawful detention are also a form of police brutality.

VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:

Police brutality hampers human rights in every manner. There are many police officials who wrongly use their powers on public without any authority. There are many police officials who manipulate the public in such a way that the individuals do not have an option but to act according to the police. According to Article 3 and 5 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every individual has a right to life, liberty and security and any individual shall not be subjected to any type of torture cruelty or unnecessary punishment. According to Article 7 of International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights everyone has the right to personal freedom and protection. Below are a few examples depicting how police brutality results in violation of human rights :

  • Death in police custody:  Due to tremendous torture in police custody many individuals end up losing their life. In order to teach a lesson or extort information from the accused(s), few police officials torture the accused(s) in such a way that they die during the investigation within the police custody itself. 
  • Torture: Police abuse and torture is a very common practice and has been prevalent in India for a long time. These techniques are also used when individuals accused of serious criminal offences are questioned by the police. In the intention of obtaining confessions or threats, the police uses extreme forms of physical damage to accused individuals.

To stop this police brutality and to protect human rights, the Judicial system has laid down few rights in favour of the citizens, which are as follows:

  • Right to remain silent: An accused or suspect is innocent until the guilt is being proved before the court. In this case the burden of proof lies on the prosecution or the police. The accused has a right to confess or remain silent.
  • Right to fair investigation: A fair investigation is very much important in Indian Judicial System. In certain landmark cases, Supreme Court has directed that not only speedy and fair trail but fair investigation is also is of utmost importance.
  • Arrest: The detention of a citizen by the police is another contentious field of the criminal justice process due to the broad variety of discretionary powers exercised by the police and the actual abuse of those powers by the police.

RIGHTS OF AN ACCUSED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA 

The Constitution of India has guaranteed a few rights for the person arrested, namely: 

  • The right to know the grounds of arrest under Section 50(1) of CrPC.
  • The right to consult a lawyer under Section 41(D)of CrPC.
  • The right to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest, under Article 22(2) of Constitution of India and under Section 76, CrPC.
  • The Police officer has to intimate the any friend/relative of the person arrested under Section 50A CrPC.
  • Any police officer making an arrest without a warrant has to produce the person arrested before the court without any unnecessary delay under Section 55, CrPC.

It is very important for an accused to know the grounds of his/her arrest, in order for him/her to whether the arrest is arbitrary or not and also he/she can prepare for defence. This particular right is mentioned under Article 22 of Constitution of India. Also under Article 22 an accused person has a right to consult a lawyer after his/her arrest. Right to produce before a magistrate is one of the most important right. According to Article 22(2) of Constitution, if the police officials fail to bring the accused before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest then the police official will be held liable under Section 340 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 for wrongful detention.

CONFESSION MADE TO POLICE IS NOT ADMISSIBLE IN COURT

Section 25 of The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 clearly states that a confession made to a police officer is not to be proved against any person accused of any offence. The main reason why a confession made to a police officer is excluded is only because most of the times those confessions are involuntary and coerced. This provision makes it evident that if confessions made to police were allowed to be proved as evidence then it would have created a gateway for the police officials to extract the confession from torture and coercion and such situation would lead to unfair trial. 

The provisions discussed above make it clear that nothing enables the police to take laws in their hands. Every citizen has a right to be heard, fair trial and to be presented before the court under Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Hence, in order to restore the faith of people in police, stringent laws should be made against the officers who go against the law to create fake encounters or punish the accused(s) by assuming themselves to be the supreme authority of law. Security of the individuals and grievances must be attended by the police officials. The complaints received by the Human Rights Commission and stories which are published in the media, clearly show us how the police officials violate the law and take illegal or fake actions upon individuals and till the time these police officers are not penalised for taking law for granted, the public in general is going to suffer. 

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