IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 2nd July 2020
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” –Albert Einstein
EDITORIAL HUNT 101 :“Police Reforms | UPSC“
Abhinav Sekhri is a lawyer practising in New Delhi
Police reform and the crucial judicial actor
The lesson from Thoothukudi is that constitutional courts must attempt to change the practices of magistrates
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS : Police Reforms in India
Act of violence inside a police station in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, evokes, is of extreme weariness.Critically Comment on the urgent reforms needed -(GS 3)
- Thoothukudi Incident is violence beyond imagination .
- How Judicial reforms should take place.
- Some cases and the verdict.
- How far we have evolved in Policing roles .
- EXTREME VIOLENCE : Act of violence inside a police station in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, evokes, is of extreme weariness.
JUDICIARY AS BEACON
- BEACONS OF DEMOCRACY : When the conversation veers in this direction it becomes natural to look towards the judiciary as the source of hope and action.
TOP COURT’S INTERVENTIONS
- JOGINDER KUMAR V. STATE OF UP [AIR 1994 SC 1349] and
- D.K. BASU V. STATE OF WEST BENGAL [(1997) 1 SCC 416],
- GUIDELINES : The Court sought to curb the power of arrest, as well as ensure that an accused person is made aware of all critical information regarding her arrest and also convey this to friends and family immediately in the event of being taken in custody.
- AMENDMENTS : It took a decade, and in the form of amendments, as the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008 to give statutory backing to these judicial guidelines; it remains part of the law today.
- PRAKASH SINGH V. UNION OF INDIA : Prakash Singh v. Union of India [(2006) 8 SCC 1], where it pushed through new legislation for governing police forces to be passed by States across India.
- KEY COMPONENTS : A key component of the new legislation was a robust setup for accountability that contemplated a grievance redress mechanism.
- CURBING BRUTALITY : Constitutional courts have seemingly tried to change our reality of police brutality for well over two decades.
- INSTITUTIONAL APATHY : While this is undoubtedly a product of continued institutional apathy towards the issue of police reform.
- HELPLESS MAGISTRATES : It is the ordinary magistrate, and not the constitutional court, who is the judicial actor wielding real power to realise substantial change in police practices.
- SERIOUS ENERGY : Constitutional courts must seriously contend with the concrete cases that come their way and expose how hard it is for a common man to get justice against police violence, either through compensation claims or prosecutions.
CULTURE OF IMPUNITY
- INSTITUTIONAL BAGGAGE : Constitutional courts must shed the institutional baggage which often leads to them protecting the supposedly vulnerable morale of police.
- SANCTIONS AND PENALTIES : Rather than minimise, perhaps it is time to consider sanctions at a larger scale and impose monetary penalties at the district level.
- REORIENTATION OF GUIDELINES : Finally, constitutional courts could strike an inspired move by reorienting their guidelines to try and change the practices of magistrates, over whom they exercise powers of superintendence.
- RULE OF LAW : For it is the local magistrate before whom all arrested and detained persons must be produced within 24 hours, and thus becomes the point of first contact for a citizen with the constitutional rule of law that Indians take so much pride in.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL | Police Reforms | UPSC