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High Time That Police Reforms Are Introduced In State To Bifurcate Law & Order Wing From Investigating Wing: Calcutta High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
11 Dec 2020 9:33 AM GMT
High Time That Police Reforms Are Introduced In State To Bifurcate Law & Order Wing From Investigating Wing: Calcutta High Court
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"Though maintaining law and order is an important part of the police duty, the investigating arm cannot be compromised."

Noting that Criminal cases suffer because of lack of adequate investigation, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday (10th December) observed, "It is high time that police reforms are introduced in this State to bifurcate the law and order wing from the investigating wing." The Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee was hearing a case of a missing girl,...

Noting that Criminal cases suffer because of lack of adequate investigation, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday (10th December) observed,

"It is high time that police reforms are introduced in this State to bifurcate the law and order wing from the investigating wing."

The Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee was hearing a case of a missing girl, wherein despite time being afforded to the State, it further sought time to locate the missing girl.

Before the Court, a report was filed by the Inspector-in-Charge of Arambagh Police Station, dated December 10, 2020, but there was no indication therein as to the whereabouts of the missing girl.

To this, the Court said,

"Criminal cases suffer because of lack of adequate investigation and lack of adequate material being produced. Though maintaining law and order is an important part of the police duty, the investigating arm cannot be compromised."

The Court further directed that copy of this order should be forwarded to the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary of the State "for appropriate measures to be taken in terms of the Supreme Court dictum in Prakash Singh v. Union of India [(2006) 8 SCC 1] and the police reforms that remain outstanding for more than a decade after such pronouncement."

In Prakash Singh's Case (supra), the Apex Court had instructed central and state governments to comply with a set of 7 directives related to operational reform and functional autonomy of the police.

The Apex Court had also said that there should be a Public Complaints Authority at district level to examine the complaints from the public on police excesses, arbitrary arrests and detentions, false implications in criminal cases, custodial violence etc. and for making necessary recommendations.

[NOTE: Several States remain in contempt of the Supreme Court's judgment and have not implemented the ruling of Prakash Singh.]

In June 2020, an application was filed before the Supreme Court (by Amicus Sr Adv Raju Ramachandran), suggesting measures for speedy and effective implementation of the Prakash Singh ruling for systemic police reforms.

Recently, Madras High Court took note of the suicides and desertions within the police force while observing that "there is no mechanism available in the Police Force and that is s the reason why so many genuine grievances of the Police could not be addressed."

The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi also noted that the "Uniformed Police Force is under stress both physically and psychologically."

Case title - Sk. Sahanoor Islam Vs. The State of West Bengal & Ors. [WPA 9332 of 2020]

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