You are on page 1of 12

LAW AND ORDER POLICING IN INDIA

Amidst the diverse functions the police perform, the plebeian identifies the police with maintenance of law and order. He sees the police in uniform intervening the incidents of his everyday life beginning from a simple street quarrel to mob violence. He sees them conducting raids on vice dens and restricting his actions and movements in the name of public interest. He sees their presence in well-nigh all state and public

gatherings, controlling crowd and maintaining order; in beats and villages, checking history-sheeters. As a part of the law and order staff, traffic police in white uniform are visible controlling and regulating traffic during rush hours. The hoi polloi have learnt to see the law and order police as their saviours in hours of need malgre restrictions involved in the latter’s methods. As far as public deals are concerned, help and support of the law and order police have become sine qua non in the ambience of prolate fruad and unruly tendencies in public life. Non obstante unvcivil methods and mouvais ton, ordinary citizens consider the law and order police as a necessary evil and the pith of the public order. It enjoys a special place in the psyche of the people as a hated saviour and a constant compagnon in public life. The image of law and order police decides to them the image of the police in general. The law and order police steeped in corruption makes them believe that the police force en semble smell rammish and its good performances earn their unqualified plaudit to the entire force. The strategic position of the law and order police in crime scene is patent from the fact that it comes to picture right in time of a crime to prevent its commission as the true strain of law and order policing while

other wings are involved either too early as in the case of security police or too late as in the case of crime police. The strategic timing brings them to the centre-stage of crime management in the eyes of common people and wins them their trust and confidence. Furthermore, the law and order police provide a rare praxis of symbion with the law with each limiting and protecting the other unlike security police ectogenic and crime police subservient to it. There cannot be laws sans the law and order police and no law and order police sans the laws. This is the ‘secret of the matchless relevance of the law and order police to the orderly life of the country.

ABSENCE OF COMMON POLICY

Police stations are pillars of the law and order police reticulation with district police offices in districts and police commissionerates in major cities at regional levels and state police headquarters at provincial levels beholden to the responsibility.

Intermediary levels like circles, subdivisions and ranges coordinate the work interterritorial. Armed forces are maintained as reserves at regional and state levels in addition at the centre to assist the law and order police in highly disturbing situations. These are striking forces, specially trained to handle serious lacunae of Indian law and order police is that no special training facility is available for its staff for actually dealing with the quotidian law and order issues. It is rather crude to expect the police to depend on past experiences and untrained personal faculties to meet professional law and order challenges. The lapse leads to arbitrary handling of law and order situations sans sound and uniform policy save peripheral measures to be adopted before and during use

of weapons and opening fire. The only help available to an official on the field is the general guidelines of his seniors who are equally illequipped to handle those situations. This complicates situations during actual actions by depriving the elements of mutual understanding among the police and the subjects as a natural and essential factor of successful policing, and ipso factor creates chaos. The situation can hardly be called as professional policing of law and order. The uncertainties of each law and order issue added to it, make handling of law and order in India, a pure maelstrom.

PULLS AND PRESSURES

Pulls and pressures are sine qua non in a democracy. Pressures of influential and powerful blocs is an accepted phenomenon of the working of a democratic government. This is patent in the working of Indian police. Police as an agency that limits the liberty of the people pro bono publico and discipline those who prevaricate, occupy a strategic position in the interpersonal and public life of the citizens and makes success and failure or life and death differences to them and their ventures. The strategic position of the police is more pronounced in law and order policing. Sadly law and order policing in India imprimis is management of pulls and pressures in the wilderness of rules and laws. Law and order policing has become a contrivement of bending and interpreting rules

and laws to the convenience of rich and powerful who can pull strings at right places. This is an irony of democracy. These prevarications go conspicuous in acts of political avatars and subject the police to serve public censure. Otherwise, it is a mute affair as the police algate are on the vocal side of the rich and influential against dumb and

helpless plebeian with none to fight the latter’s cause against the risk of the wrath of the police save isolated cases of courage and commitment. The situation is to the benefit of the police as the shocks of possible disturbances by the prevarications are always absorbed by the powerful on whose favour the police acted and the interests of the police are safeguarded avec acharnement by them. This is a tacit arrangement between the police and the powerful wherein the police are really lower partners in the high-stake game played for the benefits of the powerful bloc. The police with their little statute and easy contentment, trade off their high powers to the mighty people for the limited gains of the easy process of policing, career promotions, peaceful life and and lucre. In the process, the police sacrifice the sacred objectives of its profession.

UNDUE STRESS ON PLAYING SAFE

The current abracadabra of Indian police in managing law and order issues is letting sleeping wolves sleep and avoid further troubles. Who meet the requirement are hailed as the best law and order hands. Sine dubio, management of law and order issues anywhere requires handling situations without inviting gratuitous problems. But, the matter seems overstretched in Indian ambience. Not ruffling feathers unnecessarily is indubitably a priority. But, this should not be in shape of a compromise, at the cost of law and justice, at the cost of professional objectivity like in extant Indian law and order machinery which believes in calm at all costs; those who are adequately insensate to go to that length by placating powerful trouble-makers only win races for coveted law and order posts in Indian ambience. The consequence of the apostasy is that the law and

order policing in India has become progressively a nest of playing favouritism with utter contempt for professional character. Those with a sense of objectivity and professional probity self foot the bill as their professional uprightness falls foul with powerful lobbies who in tune with the thoughts and fears of the higher echelons of the law and order police, create troubles to those who dared not to favour them. The sleight leads to a vicious circle that perpetuates the wily interests of the powerful at the cost of weak and dumb in the hands of the law and order police by hoisting corrupt and lither elements in key law and order jobs. The conundrum is whether being a part of such a vice system is as inevitable to the law and order police as it appears. The answer definitely is in negative. An understanding of the trickery en train in the system and a little toughness and resolve to stand up to the challenges of the powerful certainly help to solve the riddles. The real question is whether the law and order police really want a solution to the riddles or is it contented with what is there as its own making. All available data point to the fact that the law and order police of India enjoy what is there as its own making that provides them security and patronage.

INTOXICATING POWERS

Important responsibilities of the law and order police include prevention of crimes, enforcement of laws, maintenance of public order, controlling rowdy activities, checking the spread of vide dens, regulating meetings, processions, and other activities in public places in the interests of the maintenance or order, controlling crowds, quelling mob violence etc. The police are invested with a spectrum of powers which include

powers to arrest, detain, search seize impound, prosecute, levy collective fines, enter and take possession of private places and buildings, use weapons to hurt and even kill to force compliance etc. Most of these powers save in specified emergent circumstances are circumscribed by the need of obtaining appropriate magisterial orders for exercise. The maintenance of law and order in large cities is facilitated by investing the magisterial powers with police commissioners, often delegated upto the level of DCPs in charge of law and order. The powers enjoyed by the law and order police amate to their

enormous responsibilities and perhaps rank first in range and the width vis a vis other wings of the police setup. Unfortunately, the importance and the width of powers of the law and order police per se are its real bane. The dependence of the common man on this wing of the police and the fear, the police inspire prompt him to gratiate the police by all his means. The incessant rush of people on the doors of the law and order police for patronage creates farthing power-centres at lower levels, giving an image of feudal lords to the chiefs of police stations who dare to preside over and pass judgements on small local disputes irrespective of their relevances to maintenance of order and other police duties. Marriages made in Police Stations are not uncommon in states like

Karnataka and Tamilnad. Favouritism abounds and rules and laws are sidelined at will in these arbitrary arbitrations. This in itself creates angry frustrations among wronged people and leads to group rivalries and clashes. Thus the police are integrated as an inseparable component of a deteriorating law and order situation.

TOOLS OF PATRONAGE

Powers enjoyed by the police to control and contain vice dens and rowdy activities provide a new dimension to the importance and manoeuvrability of the law and order police. Powers are two-sided weapons employed for punishment as well as patronage. Human nature being what it is, the police use its wide powers more as tools of patronage than as tools to check rowdyism and vice dens in absence of professional commitment and motivating factors to guide them on right lines. Organised crime

syndicates vie inter se for the favour and patronage of the police that ensure the smooth sail of their anti-social activities and protection to the gang. The gang that gains upper hand in the race rules the roast till the key figures in the police responsible for the patronage remain in power with the tacit understanding that the gang operatates within certain limits to save the police from undue embarrassments plus a subterranean arrangement to share the res gestae. The importance of the police being what it is for the survival of these organised crime syndicates, the importance of having right police officials in key positions for these gangs cannot be overemphasised ; this leads to huge amounts changing hands to ensure that particular police officials are posted to particular law and order jobs. The end–result is happy and secure crime syndicates in highly lucrative vice business under police patronage at the cost of unassuming citizens and a contented and richer law and order police running the show without a fluster of major law and order scene. The hoi polloi too are contented because there are no major disturbances and crimes with the underworld crime lords on the right side of the police. Only they do not know how they are looted ab intra and their unsuspecting character is taken advantage of and ravaged by the conspiracy of criminals and criminal-baiters namely the law and order police.

LACK OF CONCERTED DRIVE

Any shakeup in key positions of the law and order police leads to the problems of maladjustment among the crime syndicates for superiority and between the police and the crime world with gang-wars and ascensive criminal activities creating real problems to the police. Once the police come to terms with the crime gangs again, situation returns to normalcy. Refusal by a four square official in a key law and order slot to cooperate with crime syndicates invariably leads to further disturbances till the official is either brought to heels or transferred out to placate the disturbed powerful gang-lords. It is a rather triste affaire of Indian police that the resolve or the killing instinct to go tough with the crime syndicates that play the police by their little fingers is just not present there. More distressing is how upright officials who choose to fight powerful crime syndicates without yielding to the temptations of easy and comfortable life feel isolated when seriously let down and compromised by their own organisation by denying support at the behests of the powerful crime lords on the mendacious plea of maintaining peace. In a case more than a decade old, a young Deputy Commissioner of Police in the port city of Calcutta in West Bengal fell foul with a powerful crime syndicate operating from the port area and patronised by a powerful politician in power in the state. He was lured by the gang to pursue a criminal into the strongholds of the gang in the port area; caught, horrendously tortured in captivity and later lynched. Though criminal cases were

registered later, nothing came out of the case. This way a living lesson to upright police officers who dare to take on powerful crime syndicates.

SIDING WITH THE PRIVILEGED

A major cause of law and order disturbances is the absence of objectivity, fairness and sense of justice in the police in handling important issues. The police tend to favour the rich and privileged few in interpretation and exercise of powers to the disadvantage and outrage of the weak and dumb majority. This in the long run, leads to resentment and breeds resistance against the establishment and the system which conspires to perpetuate the weak and unprivileged position by denying just and legal dues. The lex non scripta of the police that whatever the rich and powerful do is right convince the poor and disadvantaged that the extant system is not for them. The situation prompts wronged

people to meet the system by its own coin by going rich and powerful by means outside the system to force the system and its police crawl before their riches and power for their pro-rich slant, en revanche. That is why the ranks of rowdy gangs and organised

crime syndicates surface almost everyday in India to go rich and powerful at the earliest. They soon learn that riches and powers have no laws and morality and the police bought with it have no weaker legal and moral authority; that the police patronage is pro rata to the riches they earn and share. The notorious Chambal dacoits are the makings of the social evils and the police patronage to its privileged perpetrators. The fact that Indian electorate send ex-dacoits and criminals as their representatives so state assemblies and parliament show the sympathies the criminals enjoy with the people who are in touch with field situations and know how weak and helpless people perforce run away from the society and go hors la loi by the outrageous acts of rich and powerful with the police

licking boots at their feet and letting loose brutality on whoever dare to oppose the feudal lords. This by no means is justification of lawless life and meant only to show how police by their greed and irresponsible handling of situations add to the growth of crime and lawlessness in the society. Phoolan Devi and her associates from the Chambal valley and UP and Bihar maifa gangs proved that criminality pays in India; it pays wealth and fame as well as political power and love and respect of the people. If there is a reason for this highly deplorable moral degringolade in the country, it is the highly irresponsible and most detestable handling of the law and order situation by its corrupt police, which the hoi polloi find worse than the Chambal dacoits and Bihar and UP mafia gangs.

POORLY ORGANISED

All said and analysed, the impact of Indian police on the management of law and order scenario cannot be called satisfactory. The Indian scenario is based on a few ageworn cliches devoid of professional expertise, academic input and creative genius; the methods employed are rude at best and arrogantly provocative at the worst. The whole range of law and order management techniques of Indian police can be formulated in a few crude catch-words like mediations or warnings followed by use of force. Indian police have no in-build advantages of researches to various types of law and order situations, psychological variables of divergent law and order issues their social and political potentialities and group dynamics, law-breaking tendencies and identification of and communication with potential law –breakers, stratified use of police powers at differential situations, application of latest psychological techniques to field situations or

rehabilitation vectors. Nor their performances are up to the expectation in traditional contrivances like effective use of weapons, strategies and tactics of operations and techniques of mediation or warning. The riot control weapons used by Indian law and order police are yet age-old lathi and tear-gas shells; such common weapons like water jets and plastic bullets are beyond the reach of police in most parts of India. Nor is there a perficient machinery to gather information and intelligence pertaining to law and order issues. The district and police station level machinery devised for the purpose are illequipped for the enormous job because of their limited size, resources, expertise and professional training. The law and order police often depend on the state intelligence unit which with a scope different from the local law and order needs, may fail the law and order police. The intelligence failures of the law and order police contributed for eruption and spread of law and order disturbances in many instances. A striking recent example of such a failure of intelligence is the Veerappan case wherein the combined forces of Karnataka and Tamilnad police failed to humble and bring to book the notorious forest brigand Veerappan who operates from the forests bordering the two states. Though the operations by no means are easy, the failure of the efforts for ten long years speak volumes about the strengths and weaknesses of Indian law and order police.

The most precious aes triplex of a law and order police is its professional honesty and commitment to the objectives of the profession. impartiality and the sense of justness and fairness bred from The selflessness, such a professional

commitment endear the police to all including its friends and foes. The trust and respect ensue from this, take the police along way to success in its professional endeavour and

protect it from enormous professional hazards and risks common to the job. Once this trust and respect are breached by immoral and illegal slants responsibilities lucri causa and other selfish causes, the in discharge of

police are exposed to the

wraths of the public and the assaults of its foes and those crowds wronged by it. By prevarications, the police are protecting neither their job interests nor the interest of the country and its people; nor their personal interests are protected as no gains made at risk to the life is worth the trouble. Indian police seld book so long and open eyes to look around. Once they stop to shed their professional arrogance and see the mine-fields underfoot, they realise the bevue they commit and may pursue a path befitting the diginity of their great profession.