Police turn a blind eye to their own men

India on 17 December 2015
Location : India | Source : The Hindu

What are the chances that your complaint against a Delhi Police personal would translate into a FIR? Less than 0.3 per cent if you complained against a policeman last year, says a study by some NGOs.

While the Delhi Police claim to register FIRs even for the pettiest of complaints, allegations against their own personnel are treated differently, the study suggests.

Not that the public shies away from reporting the police personnel they suspect of assault, misbehaviour, improper investigation or corruption. Through last year, 12,872 complaints were filed against the police. Only 35 of those complaints were converted into FIRs, says the combined study by NGOs Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Praja.

While the police claimed that they enquired each of the complaints, they deemed only 46 of them suitable for departmental enquiries. At 3,012, the most number of complaints last year were received against the North-East district police. No FIR was filed against any of police personnel in those cases.

The north-east district has been in the news for atrocities in the past few months. An alleged custodial death in September has seen the Delhi High Court lambasting the police for allegedly attempting to shield its accused personnel. The court transferred the case to the CBI earlier this month.

All this, however, do not suggest that no mechanism exists to address the complaints against its personnel. Each police district has a complaint branch in the DCP’s office where public’s complaints against police personnel are directly received. The complaints are forwarded to the public grievances cell in the office of the concerned Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) which assigns a Sub-Inspector or an officer above his rank to conduct a preliminary enquiry of the complaint.

If the complaint is found substantiated, it is sent back to the DCP’s office. Departmental enquiries are ordered only against those complaints which are found “substantiated” and classified as “serious”. If the departmental enquiry finds prima facie evidence of a cognizable offence, an FIR is registered.

On the other hand, complaints alleging cognizable offences against a policeman are immediately forwarded for registration of FIR instead of being sent for departmental enquiry.

But the catch in the entire mechanism is that allegations against police personnel are usually investigated by their own colleagues, thus leaving a wide scope for an unfair probe.

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