7. Police Investigation
The machinery of Criminal Justice System is put into gear when an offence is registered and then investigated. A prompt and quality investigation is therefore the foundation of the effective Criminal Justice System. Police are employed to perform multifarious duties and quite often the important work of expeditious investigations gets relegated in priority. A separate wing of investigation with clear mandate that it is accountable only to Rule of Law is the need of the day.
Most of the Laws, both substantive as well as procedural were enacted more than 100 years back. Criminality has undergone a tremendous change qualitatively as well as quantitatively. Therefore the apparatus designed for investigation has to be equipped with laws and procedures to make it functional in the present context. If the existing challenges of crime are to be met effectively, not on the mindset of investigators needs a change but they have to be trained in advanced technology, knowledge of changing economy, new dynamics of social engineering, efficacy and use of modern forensics etc. Investigation Agency is understaffed, ill equipped and therefore the gross inadequacies in basic facilities and infrastructure also need attention on priority.
There is need for the Law and the society to trust the police and the police leadership to ensure improvement in their credibility.
In the above backdrop the following recommendations are made:
(15) The Investigation Wing should be separated from the Law and Order Wing
(16) National Security Commission and the State Security Commission at the State level should be constituted
, as recommended by the National Police Commission.
(17) To improve quality of investigation the following measures shall be taken:
a) The post of an Addl SP may be created exclusively for supervision of a crime.
b) Another Addl. SP in each District should be made responsible for collection, collation and dissemination of criminal intelligence; maintenance and analysis of crime data and investigation of important cases.
c) Each State should have an officer of the IGP rank in the State Crime Branch exclusively to supervise the functioning of the Crime Police. The Crime Branch should have specialized squads for organized crime and other major crimes.
d) Grave and sensational crimes having inter-State and transnational ramifications should be investigated by a team of officers and not by a single IO
e) Sessions cases must be investigated by the senior-most police officer posted at the police station
f) Fair and transparent mechanisms shall be set up in places where they do not exist and strengthened where they exist, at the District Police Range and State level for redressal of public grievances.
g) Police Establishment Boards should be set up at the police headquarters for posting, transfer and promotion etc. of the District Level officers.
h) The existing system of Police Commissioner's office which is found to be more efficient in the matter of crime control and management shall be introduced in the urban cities and towns.
i) Dy. SP level officers to investigate crimes need to be reviewed for reducing the burden of the circle Officers so as to enable them to devote more time to supervisory work
j) Criminal cases should be registered promptly with utmost promptitude by the SHO's
k) Stringent punishment should be provided for false registration of cases and false complaints. Section 182/211 of IPC be suitably amended
l) Specialised Units/Squads should be set up at the State and District level for investigating specified category crimes.
m) A panel of experts be drawn from various disciplines such as auditing, computer science, banking, engineering and revenue matters etc. at the State level from whom assistance can be sought by the investigating officers
n) With emphasis on compulsory registration of crime and removal of difference between non-cognizable and cognizable offences, the workload of investigation agencies would increase considerably. Additionally, some investigations would be required to be done by a team of investigators. For liquidating the existing pendency, and, for prompt and quality investigation including increase in the number of Investigating Officers is of utmost importance. It is recommended that such number be increased at least two-fold during the next three years.
o) Similarly for ensuring effective and better quality of supervision of investigation, the number of supervisory officers (additional SPs/Dy.SPs) should be doubled in next three years.
p) Infrastructural facilities available to the Investigating Officers specially in regard to accommodation, mobility, connectivity, use of technology, training facilities etc. are grossly inadequate and they need to be improved on top priority. It is recommended that a five year rolling plan be prepared and adequate funds are made available to meet the basic requirements of personnel and infrastructure of the police.
(18) The training infrastructure, both at the level of Central Government and State Governments, should be strengthened for imparting state of the art training to the fresh recruits as also to the in-service personnel. Hand-picked officers must be posted in the training institutions and they should be given adequate monetary incentive.
(19) Law should be amended to the effect that the literate witness signs the statement and illiteterate one puts his thumb impression thereon. A copy of the statement should be mandatorily given to the witness.
(20) Audio/video recording of statements of witnesses, dying declarations and confessions should be authorized by law
(21) Interrogation Centres should be set up at the District Hqrs. in each District, where they do not exist, and strengthened where they exist, with facilities like tape recording and or videography and photography etc.
a) Forensic Science and modern technology must be used in investigations right from the commencement of investigation. A cadre of Scene of Crime officers should be created for preservation of scene of crime and collection of physical evidence there-from
b) The network of CFSL's and FSL's in the country needs to be strengthened for providing optimal forensic cover to the investigating officers. Mini FSL's and Mobile Forensic Units should be set up at the District/Range level. The Finger Print Bureaux and the FSL's should be equipped with well-trained manpower in adequate numbers and adequate financial resources.
(23) Forensic Medico Legal Services should be strengthened at the District and the State/Central level, with adequate training facilities at the State/Central level for the experts doing medico legal work. The State Governments must prescribe time frame for submission of medico legal reports.
(24) A mechanism for coordination among investigators, forensic experts and prosecutors at the State and District level for effective investigations and prosecutions should be devised.
(25) Preparation of Police Briefs in all grave crimes must be made mandatory. A certain number of experienced public prosecutors must be set apart in each District, to act as Legal Advisors to the District police for this purpose.
(26) An apex Criminal intelligence bureau should be set up at the national level for collection, collation and dissemination of criminal intelligence. A similar mechanism may be devised at the State, District, and Police Station level.
(27) As the Indian Police Act, 1861, has become outdated, a new Police Act must be enacted on the pattern of the draft prepared by the National Police Commission
(28) Section 167 (2) of the Code be amended to increase the maximum period of Police custody to 30 days in respect of offences punishable with sentence more than seven years
(29) Section 167 of the Code which fixes 90 days for filing charge sheet failing which the accused is entitled to be released on bail be amended empowering the Court to extend the same by a further period up to 90 days if the Court is satisfied that there was sufficient cause, in cases where the offence is punishable with imprisonment above seven years.
(30) A suitable provision be made to enable the police take the accused in police custody remand even after the expiry of the first 15 days from the date of arrest subject to the condition that the total period of police custody of the accused does not exceed 15 days.
(31) A suitable provision be made to exclude the period during which the accused is not available for investigation on grounds of health, etc. , for computing the permissible period of police custody.
(32) S. 438 of the Code regarding anticipatory bail be amended to the effect that such power should be exercised by the Court of competent jurisdiction only after giving the public prosecutor an opportunity of being heard.
(33) Section 161 of the Code be amended to provide that the statements by any person to a police officer should be recorded in the narrative or question and answer form
(34) In cases of offences where sentence is more than 7 years it may also be tape / video recorded.
(35) Section 162 be amended to require that it should then be read over and signed by the maker of the statement and a copy furnished to him.
(36) Section 162 of the Code should also be amended to provide that such statements can be used for contradicting and corroborating the maker of the statement.
(37) Section 25 of the Evidence Act may be suitably amended on the lines of Section 32 of POTA 2002 that a confession recorded by the Supdt. of Police or Officer above him and simultaneously audio/video recorded is admissible in evidence subject to the condition that the accused was informed of his right to consult a lawyer.
(38) Identification of Prisoners Act 1920 be suitably amended to empower the Magistrate to authorize taking from the accused fingerprints, footprints, photographs, blood sample for DNA, fingerprinting, hair, saliva or semen etc., on the lines of Section 27 of POTA 2002.
(39) A suitable provision be made on the lines of section 36 to 48 of POTA 2002 for interception of wire, electric or oral communication for prevention or detection of crime.
(40) Suitable amendments be made to remove the distinction between cognizable and non-cognizable offences in relation to the power of the police to investigate offences and to make it obligatory on the police officer to entertain complaints regarding commission of all offences and to investigate them
(41) Refusal to entertain complaints regarding commission of any offence shall be made punishable
(42) Similar amendments shall be made in respect of offences under special laws.
(43) A provision in the Code be made to provide that no arrest shall be made in respect of offences punishable only with fine, offences punishable with fine as an alternative to a sentence of imprisonment
(44) In the schedule to the Code for the expression "cognizable", the expression "arrestable without warrant" and for the expression "non-cognizable" the expression "arrestable with warrant or order" shall be substituted
(45) The Committee recommended for the review and reenactment of the IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act may take a holistic view in respect to punishment, arrestability and bailability.
(46) Consequential amendments shall be made to the first schedule in the column relating to bailability in respect of offences for which the Committee has recommended that no arrest shall be made.
(47) Even in respect of offences which are not arrestable, the police should have power to arrest the person when he fails to give his name and address and other particulars to enable the police to ascertain the same. Section 42 of the Code be amended by substituting the word "any" for the words "of non-cognizable."
(48) As the Committee has recommended removal of distinction between cognizable and non-cognizable offences, consequential amendments shall be made.
(49) The first schedule to the Code be amended to provide only the following particulars.
d) No arrest / arrestable with warrant or order / arrestable without warrant or order.
e) Bailable or non-bailable
f) Compoundable or non-compoundable
g) By what court triable.
Consequential amendments shall be made to part II of the First Schedule in respect of offences against other laws.
(50) Rights and duties of the complainant/informant, the victim, the accused, the witnesses and the authorities to whom they can approach with their grievances should be incorporated in separate Schedules to the Code. The should be translated in the respective regional languages and made available free of cost to the citizens in the form of easily understandable pamphlets
(51) Presence of witnesses of the locality or other locality or neighborhood is required under different provisions of the existing laws. The committee recommends that such provisions be deleted and substituted by the words "the police should secure the presence of two independent witnesses."
Justice preserved, protects. Justice destroyed, destroys. May not our country be destroyed due to justice destroyed.