Thursday, September 5, 2013

If I were the Home Minister - (concl.)

I have now been in the job for some time and I have visited police-stations, police-lines, control-rooms, and police training institutions . I have talked to many persons including trial-judges, lawyers, police officers of all ranks, social workers and some persons who have been cited as prosecution witnesses but have yet to testify as also a few who admit to having resiled from the statement made to the police, while testifying in the court.

I now understand that the police cannot offer the kind of protection which the people want unless the Criminal Justice System is reformed as a whole. However, I don't say anything  in the public because. at present, it will only be dismissed as an apology for the police. I am also convinced that there is an urgent need for a large increase in police strength but I am loth to sanction it until police show some signs of change and until I am satisfied that an increase in police strength will actually benefit the people and will be appreciated by them. However, being a politician, I am also very keen to do somethings that will show the people that I am on the ball.

I have noticed that every time the police are seen behaving in an inappropriate manner, a cry goes up to improve their training. So, I tell the DGP to go for a complete overhaul of the police training institutions (including staff) so that police training in the State comes on par with the best in the country. 

I know that despite their antipathy, the people do want  larger police presence in their areas and quicker police response to incidents. So, I ask the DGP to prepare for it and the next time there is an incident which attracts large public attention, I announce a substantial increase in the number of two-wheeler and four-wheeler patrols. 

Since registration of FIRs is another hot public issue, I decide that a law officer would be posted in each district to advise SP on legal matters and, particularly, to assist in e-registraton of FIRs ( refer to my blog of 20th Feb '13). 

I persuade the government to strengthen the forensic science laboratories so that investigations are not held up on that account. I also persuade the government to set up a group of experts to examine the feasibility of character-assessment so that unsuitable persons could be screened out from police and other public services at the recruitment stage or during initial training.

As already mentioned, I think that the CJS needs to be holistically reformed and that is possible only if all the stake-holders come on one platform and discuss the issues. So, I organise frequent seminars to facilitate such discussions and I make sure that members of the monitoring committees get a prominent part in them. On my part, I not only point to the delays in trials which amount to denial of justice, but also emphasise that the System must be made witness-centric so that people willingly come forward as witnesses. I forcefully point out that if a witness is intimidated or otherwise induced not to speak the truth at the trial, it leads to perversion of justice and therefore, the persons involved, as also a witness who wilfully perjures himself, must be visited with swift and condign punishment.

I now wait for the results (and the next elections).

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