The death of inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, shot while trying to control a mob of cow vigilantes in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, is a vivid expression of the contempt of our ruling classes, and those aligned to them, for the rule of law.
Underlying these shocking incidents is an equally terrifying lawlessness, which is quiet, insidious and pervasive. The stunningly casual statements from the establishment after the incident are a new development in a systematised attack on the rule of law.
Reality check –
The police stations are mostly structured to perpetrate lawlessness in two ways –
- First, they are simply not enabled to enforce the rule of law –
- The police personnel are expected to investigate crime, maintain law and order, and are frequently deployed on VIP duty.
- The personnel rotated through it rapidly, as there are at least one transfer per month.
- The senior officers complain that postings are based on patronage, and it is not possible to deploy the best people for the most difficult tasks.
- The thana is always short of money, and personnel spend from their pocket on stationery and other needs.
- The police personnel are entitled to 16 days of leave in a year, but this is generally not actually sanctioned.
- Though a police station is expected to respond to the needs and events of the area, it is mostly assigned targets, such as for seizing a certain amount of liquor and issuing a number of challans. Every year, the targets were increased.
- The shortage of personnel, the sorry working conditions and their ignorance has created a system not capable of upholding the rule of law.
2. Deep-rooted corruption –
- The second way in which the police station became an agent of lawlessness was corruption.
- Enough evidence has shown that the village people feared and avoided the police. They said that the police listened to those who had money. The usual dismal tales of police greed and brutality emerged.
- Constables are found to be extracting money from vehicles plying the highway, snatch away mobile phones of ordinary people and return them only when they are paid money.
- When an FIR is lodged, the police evince sympathy for the victims as well as the accused, and take money off both to solve the case.
- A few police personnel admit that it is difficult not to be corrupt, because everyone is. This problem is clearly systemic and not individual, as the police personnel themselves are not happy with their corruption.
What can be done?
- Government should bring police/public order under the Concurrent List of the Constitution. All state governments depend on the Centre to maintain law and order. An amendment to the Constitution would give de jure status to what is already de facto on the ground.
- Government may also declare certain crimes as ‘federal’ and entrust their investigation to a Central Agency. This would be in keeping with the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.
- The manpower deficiencies in the police organisation must be addressed immediately to ensure better maintenance of law and order in the country.
- Police transport and other infrastructure facilities need to be upgraded and bring to the level of a modern state of Gujarat, where the Forensic facilities are available not only at State level, but also in the form of regional, district and mobile laboratories.
- National Police Commission had also recommended family accommodation for all the gazetted and non-gazetted police personnel. As housing has a direct impact on the welfare and morale of the police personnel, the government needs to take care of the same.
- Huge burden of work and inadequate manpower availability force the police offers to work for 10-16 hours a day, round the week, which causes stress and leads to multiple complications including rude behaviour with the public and subsequent depression and other mental issues.
- Separation of investigation from law and order is the least controversial direction of the Supreme Court which could be implemented immediately without political imperatives of the decision.
We provide quality UPSC Coaching in Chandigarh. For all your queries regarding the class structure, material and mentorship for our programmes concerned with PCS Coaching in Chandigarh, HCS Coaching in Chandigarh and similar civil services coaching in Chandigarh region and beyond, you can contact us directly at Raj IAS Academy to avail professional quality IAS Coaching in Chandigarh. Raj IAS Academy wishes you all the best for your preparation.