Humans are God’s supreme creation. We are painted wearing a uniform of humanity which is supposed to be respected by all, but the problem arises when there is use of fist before wits and torture becomes the culture. This is the harsh reality of our civil authority system- The Police. There is no society or civilization in the world which exists without the presence of ani- social ingredient. The police institute is a constituted body of people who are empowered by the state to enforce law and order. But today's concern is the use of this power in an arbitrary manner creating chaos ultimately leading to the state of anarchy. The popular term for this arbitrary misuse is Police brutality. A firm commitment to uphold human rights is a must.
“Our lives being to end the day we become silent about the things that matter”-Martin Luther King Jr.
Humans- God’s Supreme creation. The only thing which makes us different from animals is the gift of the brain (to think) and voice (to speak), the two peaceful weapons of humanity. But along with these blessing comes a serious responsibility. Humans as the best creation of God are painted wearing a uniform of humanity which is supposed to be respected by all. The problem arises when the protector becomes the predator. Hence, there isthe use of fists before wits and torture becomes the normal.
This is the harsh reality of our civil authority system-The Police. For instance, when the positive and negative side of a battery connect then only charge flows. Similarly, there exist both social and anti-social elements in a societal setup. Pros and cons exist everywhere. There is no society or civilization in the world which exists without the presence of anti-social ingredients.
But today’s concern is the fusion of these two elements when combined lead to the formation of something toxic which effects mankind. When Dandaraj becomes the new Gundaraj basically signified the authoritative use of power is not used for the betterment of the society but in an arbitrary manner, leading to chaos and a state of anarchy. The article highlights police brutality and custodial violence which is affecting humanity.
The Establishment Of The Police System
The first uniform police force was created by the government of king LouisXIV in 1667 to police the then-largest European city, Paris. In 1861 the English government passed the Indian councils act which lead the foundation of professionalized police forum in India and on 1902-03 the police commission was established for police reforms under Lord Curzon. In 1948 imperial police was replaced by Indian police services (IPS) under article 312(2) part XIV of our constitution. Hence this institute is a constituted body of persons whoare empowered by the state to enforce law and order.
Instances Of Police Brutality
History is the eyewitness to the fact that police brutality has existed since times in memorial: –
1)Jallianwala Bagh massacre, 13th April 1919- where the British police personnel fired at a peacefully gathering killing 400 people and injuring about 1500 people.
2) 12th December 1930 -the death of Babu Genu Saeed a cotton mill worker due to police brutality as the officials dove a truck over him.
3) The blinding of Bhagalpur -where the police personnel blinded 31 people both under undertrial and convicts by pouring acid.
4)The Hashimpura massacre, 22th May 1987- which took place during Hindu-Muslim riots in Meerut, UP when 19 personnel rounded up and fired 42 Muslim youths and later loaded them in truck and dumped their bodies into canal.
513th October 2015– Punjab police shot down two protestors during the issue of Guru Granth Sahibdesecration, when the holy book of the Sikh community was torn which lead to a massive unrest in the public.
6Jamia Milia Islamia 2019 attack during the CAA protests when the police attacked the students at the campus
8) 22nd June 2020– The brutal custodial deaths of father-son duo Bennicks and Jeyaraj subjected to torture and sexual assault.
9)The Vikas Dubey encounter- The gangster of Uttar Pradesh was charged with 62 FIR’s and killed eight police officers in July 2020. He was shot dead by the Uttar Pradesh police in a police encounter.
Legal And Social Perspective
According to the third report of national police commission , nearly 60% of the arrests are irrelevant and unnecessary. This report was referred by the Supreme Court in the case Joginder Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh 11994 SCC (4) 260and hereby held that the police do have the power to interrogate but it cannot be arbitrarily used. The landmark case DK Basu v. State of West Benga2 1997 (1) SCC 416) provided guidelines regarding how to arrest respecting the fundamental rights of the accused.
In the wake of the horrific incident of custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi moved to the Supreme Court for the revival of the guidelines of DK Basu case and also prayed before the court to direct the Centre to ratify the United Nations convention against torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment,1987.
In response to the guidelines of the said case, amendment took place in code of criminal procedure by adding sections 41A to 41D, 50A,54A,55A and 60A to bring accountability and transparency. Changes in the Indian penal code And Indian evidence act also took place.
Irrespective of all such initiatives by the courts it seems as if it was communicated to deaf ears. Making no mistakes- custodial deaths or fake encounters is nothing less than cold-blooded murders and it in no circumstance can be masked by the administration of self-defense.
In most of the cases the public opinion favors instant justice- but isn’t it an injustice for the alleged accused? Remember the Hyderabad encounter of the accused of rape and murder case. No matter how morally it seemed to be, the fundamental rights of the accused under articles 21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution were infringed. Similar is the story of Vikas Dubey encounter yet another instance of Dandaraj. The gangster of Uttar Pradesh who was charged with 62 FIR’s and killed eight police officers in July 2020 was shot dead by the UP police in a quite filmy style.
It seemed that the encounter was somehow inspired by a third-class film as if the viewers were deaf and mute. His encounter was somehow pre-planned as to protect some big fishes of the dirty pond. The committee made to enquire into this case is nothing more than an eyewash. Again, even as an accused wasn’t his rights infringed. A peaceful student anti-CAA protest was charged with sedition. What happened with Safoor Zargar was it justifiable? Wasn’t she entitled to early bail on the very valid medical ground of pregnancy?
The massive social revolutionary protest over George Floyd is another instance of police violence. But where is the Indian version of Floyd’s movement? Somehow in India, people are not much aware of their rights. This is all because we don’t value human life as we should have valued. The brutal custodial deaths of Bennick and Jeyaraj in Tamil Nadu didn’t become a national and international concern.
The court in its Suo moto over the issue ordered the Tamil Nadu government to continue with the police wellness program for five more years because we can’t afford loss of any morevictims like Bennicks and Jayeraj. All these instances penned down and questions asked by the author highlights that currently in India,” dandaraj is the new Gundaraj “For about 140 years of the establishment of this institution not many changes have been welcomed.
Suggestions And Conclusion
“Power should be a check on power”baron de Montesquieu
Lord Acton once said that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So, what we need to do? Who will police the police? Do we need new laws to regulate them? The only thing which India currently needs is:
- Political Intend
- And implementation
Law making is a very tight procedure. For instance, The Anti-Torture Bill,2010 seems to be lying on the floor of the lower house for about 10 years now. Making legislation’s will not solve the problem. Unimplemented legislation is of no use. So rather than making new laws, we should implement the old precedents with modifications. For example,the revival of the guidelines of DK Basu case making them strictly implemented. Similarly, we need not make new commissions as check banks overs police, its solution already exists.
The monitoring mechanism to curb excessive power exercised by the police should be enhanced. The police system requires urgent repairs from roots to branches. It is correctly stated that one bad fish can spoil the whole pond. These few bad fishes should not be a reason to condemn the entire force especially when they are the frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic. A firm commitment to uphold human rights is a must. It is high time for us as citizens to raise our voice against intolerance and speak out openly by standing for ourselves.