human rights

Police Constables Too Have Human Rights

S.O.S   e – Voice For Justice – e-news weekly
Spreading the light of humanity freedom

Editor: Nagaraja.M.R.. Vol.12..Issue.23….….11/06/2016

 

Editorial : Police Constables  are also Human Beings &  Police  Constables  Too  Have  Human  Rights

An Appeal to National Human rights Commission and  Supreme Court of India

 

Police  Constables  are also Human Beings  ,  one among us  who has chosen the job of policing for livelihood.  Since decades  their human rights , constitutional rights are violated , their voices seeking justice are suppressed by superior police officers. The Police  Constables who tried to  organize them ,  who asked for justice were dismissed from police service.

It has a boomerang effect on vulnerable sections of  society. The police constables  who work under extreme psychological stress , who’s very own rights are violated   are  prone to committing rights violations of  the weaker people. Till we as a society , government , Superior Police Officers  start respecting the human rights of Police constables , we can not expect police constables to respect human rights of others. It is simple Give Respect & Take Respect.

Hereby , We  appeal to Honourable National Human Rights Commission of India  and Honourable Supreme Court of India , to register following  PILs and to protect the Human Rights of  both Police Constables and  the Public alike.

Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.

 

Your’s sincerely ,

Nagaraja.M.R.

 

 

Karnataka: 50000 cops apply for ‘harassment leave’; may go on strike

 

 

The police personnel are protesting against harassment by senior officers in the name of discipline.

 

 

Akhila Karnataka Police Maha Sangha is leading the movement, which will be a major embarrassment to the state government if it is successful. (Representational Image)

 

BENGALURU: In a first of its kind in the state, police personnel are planning to go on mass leave on June 4, in protest against the harassment by senior officers in the name of discipline, meagre salary, no proper leaves and other issues faced on the professional front.

It has been learned that more than 50,000 policemen across the state have already applied for ‘Harassment Leave’ on June 4. However, police heads of all districts have issued orders to all police station heads directing them not to grant leave to any staff on that day.

Akhila Karnataka Police Maha Sangha is leading the movement, which will be a major embarrassment to the state government if it is successful. V. Shashidhar, the Founder President of the Organisation, told Deccan Chronicle that the movement gained momentum after a few policemen approached him with the plan of protesting against the system.

“They told me that all the policemen should go on leave on the same day to pass a strong message to the government and they requested me to lead the movement, as there is no proper forum to fight for the rights of policemen. Then I started working towards it and it gained support from thousands of policemen and also various other organisations,” Shashidhar said.

“There are around 85,000 policemen in the state. In this, 65,000 staff is constabulary, which is the most harassed section. Forget decent salary, they are not even able to spend time with their families. They don’t get leaves even during emergency situations. Even for small issues, they have to face suspensions in the name of ‘disciplinary action’. Their working condition is pathetic as they have to work more than 15 hours at a stretch without basic amenities. This is nothing but gross violation of human rights. Despite repeated requests for the last 25-30 years the governments have not done anything to sort out the issues and even courts did not rule in favour of policemen. Thus, they have reached threshold and are ready to give a clear message to the government this time,” he said.

As it is obvious that the higher ups won’t grant leave on June 4, the policemen have reportedly decided to not turn up for work on that day. “However, they won’t come on streets to protest as they belong to disciplinary force. Instead, we are requesting their family members to protest on behalf of them. Also, various organisations like Karnataka Rakshana Vedike have supported our cause and will join hands with us,” Shashidhar added.

 

PIL –  Treat  Police  Constables Humanely

An  Appeal to National Human Rights Commission of  India and Supreme Court of  India

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.         OF    2016

IN THE MATTER OF

NAGARAJA . M.R

editor ,  SOS e Clarion of Dalit & SOS e Voice for Justice
# LIG 2 , No 761 ,, HUDCO First Stage , Laxmikantanagar ,
Hebbal , Mysore – 570017 , Karnataka State
.
….Petitioner

Versus

Honourable   Chief Secretary , Government of Karnataka  & Others

….Respondents

PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 12 to ARTICLE 35 & ARTICLE 51A OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT IN THE NATURE OF MANDAMUS UNDER ARTICLE 32 & ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA.

To ,
1. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India and His Lordship’s Companion Justices of the Supreme Court of India.

2. Hon’ble Chairman , National Human Rights Commission of India

 

The Humble petition of the   Petitioner above named.

MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH :
1. Facts of the case:
Police  constables are  also Human Beings and must be treated as such by superior officers  and all.

As every other Human Being , police  constables also has got human rights  of equality , dignity of  labor ,  equitable justice.

As Indian  citizens  police  constables has constitutionally guaranteed  rights of equality , equitable justice , etc.

Police constables  are  appointed  , trained for the very specific purpose of maintaining law , order and detecting crimes.

When  police  constables  are treated  humanely by superiors and others , they will reciprocate the same.

Police constables are always  under the threat of criminals ,  anti nationals , mafia. But they are not paid any compensation by government  when murdered by criminals , on the lines of soldiers becoming martyr  during war.

Government has enacted laws  enforcing   equal pay for equal work ,  1 earned leave for  20 working days , maximum of 8  working hours , one paid weekly off after 48 working hours or 6 days , for all private & public sector employees. In  case  of urgency over time work can be allotted  to worker with his willingness ( not forced )  at the rate of double wages. For violation of these  laws , labor department officials will prosecute guilty  company executives.

Since decades , police constables  are  not paid equal wages in comparison to their counterparts in other states and  with people of their own rank like teachers , electric line mans , etc in our state itself.  Everyday  they are forced to work beyond 8 hours without any additional wages. Leaves are not sanctioned. They are  addressed  by first name in vulgar language by superior officers  and forced to  do menial jobs  by superior officers which are not part of police manual  or service rules. Those who refuse to do it are  dismissed by superior officers  citing indiscipline. Day in day out every second  police constables are treated inhumanely by superior  officers.  POLICE  CONSTABLES  HUMAN RIGHTS  ARE VIOLATED  by superior officers since decades. These  police constables  work under extreme psychological stress and  some police constables  vent out their  anger  on innocents , suspects in lock up  by using 3rd degree torture methods. Some other constables  have fired at their  superior officers  and some have gone to the extreme of  committing  suicide.

In the name of discipline , job security , the doors  to legal redress of grievances  are shut for police constables.

Till  violation of Human Rights of Police  Constables are not  stopped , you can not stop  human rights violations by police , 3rd degree torture of  innocents , lock up deaths  by police.

 
2. Question(s) of Law:

Is it right for  senior government officials , police officers , ministers ,  judges   to violate HUMAN RIGHTS , CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS  of Police Constables ?

3. Grounds:
Requests for equitable justice , protection of  constitutional rights , human rights of police constables  and Prosecution of  guilty judges , police officers , IAS  officers , ministers.

4. Averment:

Please read following cases at website mentioned below :

http://www.livelaw.in/tamil-nadu-judge-serves-memo-female-court-staff-not-washing-innerwear/  ,

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/115594/these-cops-much-abused-bosses.html  ,

Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the concerned public servants in the following cases to perform their duties , to respect the Human Rights , Constitutional Rights  of police constables.

That the present petitioner has not filed any other petition (which are admitted by courts) in any High Court or the Supreme Court of India on the subject matter of the present petition.

PRAYER:
In the above premises, it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased:
a . Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the chief secretaries of all stae governments ,  the concerned public servants  in the present case , to perform their duties.
b . to pass such other orders and further orders as may be deemed necessary on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.

c. To legally prosecute  guilty judges , police officers , IAS  officers , ministers  and their family  members who are  ill treating ( under threat )  police constables and violating their human rights , constitutional  rights.

d. To  immediately ban  colonial era system of providing  police constables as orderlies  to senior government officials ,  judges , ministers.

e. To  immediately order  respective state governments to pay  over time pay to all police  constables  with  back wages , over time wages  since their appointment till date.

f.  To immediately order state governments to start process of police constables recruitment.

g. To give   staggered weekly off  to  all  police  constables  without  fail.

h. To order  state governments to  strictly pay equal wages for equal work  to all police constables in comparison to  their  counter parts in other states and  state government employees of their same rank in their own states.

i. To order state governments  to pay compensation to police  constables who  die in the line of duty  on par with military compensation.

j. To order state government to constitute district committees comprising of district head of police , doctor , psychiatrist , behavior specialist and human rights expert , providing a forum for  victimized police constables to air their grievances and in turn getting counseling , grievance redress. This will go a long way in controlling 3rd degree torture of innocents by police , lock up deaths also.

FOR WHICH ACT OF KINDNESS, THE PETITIONER SHALL BE DUTY BOUND, EVER PRAY.

Dated : 29th  April   2016 …………………….FILED BY: NAGARAJA.M.R.

Place :   Mysuru , India…………………….   PETITIONER-IN-PERSON

 

 

PIL –  Ban  Orderly  services  performed by Police Constables , others

An  Appeal to National Human Rights Commission of  India and Supreme Court of  India

 

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.          OF 2016

IN THE MATTER OF

NAGARAJA . M.R

editor SOS e Clarion of Dalit & SOS e Voice for Justice
# LIG 2 , No 761 ,, HUDCO First Stage , Laxmikantanagar ,
Hebbal , Mysore – 570017 , Karnataka State
.
….Petitioner

Versus

Honourable   Chief Secretary , Government of Karnataka  & Others

….Respondents

PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 12 to ARTICLE 35 & ARTICLE 51A OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT IN THE NATURE OF MANDAMUS UNDER ARTICLE 32 & ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA.

To ,
1. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India and His Lordship’s Companion Justices of the Supreme Court of India.

2. Hon’ble Chairman , National Human Rights Commission of India

 

 

The Humble petition of the   Petitioner above named.

MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH :
1. Facts of the case:
Police constables  are  appointed  , trained for the very specific purpose of maintaining law , order and detecting crimes.

Dalayaths , peons  in various state & central government departments  are appointed , trained  for the very specific   purpose of  assisting their  immediate superior in  official duties.

Police constables , Peons , Dalayaths are  PUBLIC  SERVANTS  / GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS  paid from public exchequer  to  do  public duties.

Police  Constables ,  Peons , Dalayaths  are  Human Beings , deserve respect  by all including  their superiors.

Police  Constables ,  Peons , Dalayaths  are  ill treated , they are treated as  SLAVES  / Bonded  Labourers  by  their superior judges , police officers , IAS  officers , Ministers , etc.  They  are  forced to do menial jobs  (other than official duties )  like   clearing  night soil from sewage line ,  washing  under wears , clothes of officer  &  his family members ,  polishing shoes of  officers , their family members ,  washing  clothes , cooking utensils , etc.

If  the officer  & his  family members are suffering from  PARALYSIS   or any other  health problems  which makes them  unable to perform their own work , then  they can appoint private persons  by paying from their personal pockets.
2. Question(s) of Law:

Is it right for  senior government officials  to  force ( under  threat ) their  subordinate officials to  do  officer’s   personal , private  work ?

3. Grounds:
Requests for equitable justice , protection of  constitutional rights , human rights of police constables , dalayaths , peons and Prosecution of  guilty judges , police officers , IAS  officers , ministers.

4. Averment:

Please read following cases at website mentioned below :

http://www.livelaw.in/tamil-nadu-judge-serves-memo-female-court-staff-not-washing-innerwear/  ,

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/115594/these-cops-much-abused-bosses.html  ,

Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the concerned public servants in the following cases to perform their duties , to respect the rights  of police constables ,  dalayaths , peons. To assign proper official duties to police constables , dalayaths & peons.

That the present petitioner has not filed any other petition (which are admitted by courts) in any High Court or the Supreme Court of India on the subject matter of the present petition.

PRAYER:
In the above premises, it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased:
a . Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the concerned public servants  in the present case , to perform their duties.
b . to pass such other orders and further orders as may be deemed necessary on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.

c. To legally prosecute  guilty judges , police officers , IAS  officers , ministers  and their family  members who are  ill treating ( under threat )  police constables , dalayaths , peons.

d. To  immediately ban  colonial era system of providing orderlies  to senior government officials.

FOR WHICH ACT OF KINDNESS, THE PETITIONER SHALL BE DUTY BOUND, EVER PRAY.

Dated : 20th  April   2016 …………………….FILED BY: NAGARAJA.M.R.

Place :   Mysuru , India…………………….   PETITIONER-IN-PERSON

 

 

 

The pitiable conditions constables live in

 

The Sunday’s incident of a police constable shooting at sub-inspector in Rajanakunte police station over a spat, points at the mental agony the constables go through every day.

Not only constables, even senior police officers accept the fact that acute crunch of staff and ‘ill-treatment’ of policemen by their seniors are the causes for the tiff between constables and senior officers.

Bad working and living conditions

A 28-year-old constable working in Basaveshwaranagar police station said that he regretted his decision of joining the department.

“During our training days, we are prepared to work under any situations. After we  start working, most of us realise that the training programme is nothing like the present working conditions, as we work in horrible conditions. The list of problems start with basics like toilets. There are no good toilets in most of the stations in the city. The condition of houses in police quarters is miserable. They are built some decades ago and are not even repaired. Most of them are not even provided quarters. Though they are provided, it will be very far from the stations we work. For instance, if a constable is working in a police station in south division, he will be given a house in north or north-east division. It will take at least an hour to reach the station and two hours a day is wasted on travelling, besides working for a minimum of 12 hours,” he said.

No promotions after many years of service

A head constable working in Yelahanka police station said, “A sub-inspector will be promoted as inspector just after 5-6 years of service. But I had to wait for 20 years for  a promotion from constable to head constable rank. My case is better as there are so many who have retired as constables. I don’t have any hope that I will retire as an assistant sub-inspector.”

No day offs, no leaves

A constable in Wilson Garden station said, “Some of the senior officials react as if we are committing a ‘crime’  if we ask for leave. If some of the family members or close relatives pass away, we will be granted leave, that too on suspicion. People will be in celebration mood during festive seasons, but we are not supposed to take leave for  festivals.  We are paid a meagre amount for working on holidays. Some officers use us for their personal works. When this is the situation, how can we get rejuvenated in regular intervals.”

Expert take

Retired DGP D V Guruprasad, who had done a survey— A profile of Junior ranks of Karnataka Police: A survey of their Attitudes, Behaviour, Mental makeup and Stress levels—in 2007 said, “Unhygienic working and living conditions are the basic reasons for stress among policemen. They are overworked and are deprived of spending time with their family members. There are no recreation activities at work place. Shortage of staff is another major reason for the stress the policemen are going through.”

 

Karnataka Police Constables used as Construction Workers

 

The whole issue came to light when an unknown person filmed the police constables engaged in the construction of the house.

A senior Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) force is under the limelight with an inquiry initiated against him. The Hindu reports that a Superintendent of Police attached to the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) had allegedly misused police constables for personal work. The report states that he used them in place of construction labourers to build his house in Parappana Agrahara.

The whole issue came to light when an unknown person filmed the police constables engaged in the construction of the house on their mobile phone. The report states that senior police officers are now investigating the veracity of the video footage.

 

Using police constables for personal work is illegal, added the source. Additional Director General of Police Kamal Pant has reportedly ordered an inquiry by a senior officer. There has also been a show cause notice issued to Superintendent of Police Revanna who is attached to the 4{+t}{+h}Battalion, KSRP.

The daily adds that Revanna reportedly denied the allegations when he was questioned by senior police personnel. “We have recorded his statement and also summoned the personnel who were seen in the video footage for questioning,” a senior police officer was quoted by the daily as stating.

 

Should police constables continue to cook and clean for senior officers?

 

They cook, clean, tend to the garden, drop off the children to school and pick them up, take their employers’ wives out for errands. But they aren’t domestic workers. Meet the orderlies of police forces across the country, part of a system that was put in place during the British rule over the Indian sub-continent.
While a Parliamentary panel has recommended that the system of orderlies be abolished from both the Army, and the state police forces, the report found no takers.
Recently, Director-General and Inspector-General of the Karnataka Police Om Prakash and his son were jointly interviewing around 10-15 police constables so that they could be deputed as orderlies, according to a Bangalore Mirror report.
Low ranking police personnel drawn from the reserve police, orderlies are deputed into the service of officers of Deputy Superintendent of Police and above. According to a Deccan Chronicle report, each officer can avail a certain number of orderlies but information procured under the Right to Information Act showed that many officers were violating these norms.
Police officials who spoke to The News Minute on condition of anonymity said that in most cases, those who were deputed as orderlies were doing the personal errands of the officers. In one case, a police constable recalls the Police Control Room van or the PCR van introduced in Karnataka’s cities some years was used to ferry the family of a senior officer around when they were visiting the city.
In August 2013, The Hindu reported that Bengaluru-based RTI activist group Mahiti Hakku Adhyanana Kendra had sought information from the state police on the status of orderlies. It turned out that around 3,000 constables were working as orderlies, and the state incurred an annual expenditure of around Rs 78 crore for providing orderlies.
In April 2013, a Parliamentary panel comprising 29 MPs and headed by BJP Rajya Sabha member Venkaiah Naidu recommended that the government abolish the practice altogether. The Times of India had reported that even the Second Administrative Reforms Committee and the Sixth Pay Commission too had said the same.
The Parliamentary panel however, had also recommended that the government sanction posts of cooks, drivers and attendants separately, when the country had a shortage of over five lakh police personnel in a sanctioned strength of 21.24 lakh.
Several years before this, however, Andhra Pradesh had done away with the system, after an orderly died under mysterious circumstances.
This culture of subservience to a higher ranking official is not just limited to the orderly system when it comes to the police. It pervades the entire hierarchy where every official exerts power over those junior to themselves.
During a visit to a police station this reporter remembers meeting a Deputy Superintendent of Police in charge of the district crime records bureau for some statistics. Sitting at his table in a run-down office, the DySP said: “Eh, barappa illi!” (Come here you!). Bending a little, he pulled up a plastic bag from under the table and removed the jar of a mixer from inside, and asked the constable who turned up to get it repaired.
Another practice that the police have is the “salaam” culture. One constable in every police station is supposed to hold a rifle – unloaded – and wait at the entrance of the police station. That constable’s job is to stand in attention and salute every officer above the rank of sub-inspector when they come and go.
The “mai-baap” mentality is everywhere, even outside the Deputy Commissioner or Collector’s office, standing in ujala-tinged white uniform and red sash, complete with red-trimmed turban to salute and be ignored. It’s high time we do away with it.

 

Karnataka top police official transferred for alleged misuse of staff

 

A senior police official has been transferred by Karnataka government after a video purportedly showing staff under him being used for cleaning a community hall owned by him surfaced.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered the transfer of DIG  Railways H S Venkatesh as the video surfaced showing police  personnel under him being used for cleaning of a community  hall, official sources said today.

They said the Chief Minister himself questioned about the incident in a meeting with top police officials yesterday and sought a report from them.

Venkatesh has not been given any posting.
The video has come as an embarrassment to the  government which is bracing itself to deal with the threat by the constabulary to go on a mass leave on June 4, against alleged harassment of lower rank police personnel by senior officials, lesser pay and other issues.
The visuals showed police personnel in uniform sweeping and mopping the community hall, owned by Venkatesh.

The video was reportedly shot by constables used for the work ahead the inauguration of the community hall in April.

 

Karnataka  Police Constables Forced to do Domestic Work

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT5ASTyMvSw  ,

 

 

 

73% Police In India Work 7 Days  A Week Every Month,  Causing Health Issues, Demotivation

 

A recent report published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BRPD) and Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) has found that 90% of police officers work for more than eight hours a day and 73% do not get a weekly off even once a month. That’s not all. They are often called into work on their rare holidays for emergency work.

If a police officer in your area doesn’t work efficiently or has a bad attitude it might be because of this reason. The police force is highly overworked, underpaid and completely under-staffed.

These terrible working conditions have lead to serious health concerns, widespread discontent and demotivation within the police force, which eventually results in a diminished perception of the police by the general public.

 

According to Times of India , the research involved extensive field survey including 12,156 police station staff, 1,003 SHOs and 962 supervisory officers, from ranks ranging from constables to IGPs, in 319 districts in 23 states and two Union Territories. All nine police stations types – metropolitan, urban, urban-rural mixed, rural, crime, traffic, women, tribal and others were covered in the survey.

” The field survey conducted among the large samples of SHOs and supervisory offices indicates that nearly 90% of police station staff works for more than eight hours a day. More than 68% of SHOs and over 76% of supervisory officers stated that staff members in police stations were on duty for 11 hours or more per day. 27.7% SHOs and 30.4% supervisory officers reported that their staff worked for more than 14 hours a day,” the study said.

The study also shows that the current working hours are not in consonance with Indian labour laws, or international laws, they are also in violation of Article 42 of the Indian Constitution.

Talking about impacts, the study said, “The long hours of duty have had multiple negative impacts on efficient policing. Nearly two-thirds (74%) of respondents among police station staff have reported that the current working hours lead to health problems of different kinds for them. A large majority (more than 76%) of SHOs also felt that the current duty hour arrangement was deleterious to health of staff. Conditions like joint pain due to long hours of standing, stress, sleeplessness, acidity, etc seem to occur early in life of police personnel. ”

All of this takes a toll on their moral, motivation and self-esteem. Their overall behaviour with the public is probably a manifestation of their poor working conditions.

More than anything, the conditions within which they work have adverse affects on their quality of work. Weary and tired policemen will not be able to perform their best, whether it is in crime investigation, law and order duties, information gathering or patrolling. Their job performance will be affected and thus our safety will be jeopardised.

The study said introduction of shift system would mean rationalizing the work hour norms for police station staff to more acceptable limits. According to the SHOs, there was a need of 1.68 times strength of the present sanctioned strength for the shift system.

The study suggested that augmentation of police station strength with some 337,500 personnel (50% of the present sanctioned strength) would take the ratio of police station manpower to a little over 45% of the total police strength in the states/Union Territories, and this would help in ensuring efficient policing.

“Shift system of functioning in police stations is absolutely imperative for efficient and people-friendly policing, as also for conducive work-life balance for police personnel. Implementation of shift system in police station work is a functionally achievable objective, as established by our case studies of the 8-hour duty system of Kerala Police,” the study said.

The police force in this country is highly under-appreciated, they work non-stop and have no means of releasing frustration other than on the public. Police brutality has become a growing problem, resulting in the public completely losing faith in those entrusted to keep them safe. But one cannot solely blame the cops for this, they are expected to get results and get them fast. They use whatever means necessary – not to say that this should be excused – but what choices are they left with?

The government needs to put in a great deal of effort to increase funding and employment within the force. Perhaps increasing the number of women officers to take some of the burden off the men could be a start.

 

Indian Police Constables work culture

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/7597/12/12_chapter%207.pdf  ,

 

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/karnataka-police-constables-demand-better-work-conditions-go-on-mass-leave-on-june-4/1/678524.html

 

 

Pocket  Book for Police – Human Rights Standards

http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/training5Add3en.pdf

 

 

Understanding the Psychology of Police Misconduct
By Brian D. Fitch, PhD, Lieutenant, Los Angeles, California, Sheriff’s Department

 

Law enforcement is a unique profession, with officers experiencing a host of freedoms not available to the general public, including the application of deadly force, high-speed driving, and seizing personal property. While these liberties may be necessary, they also can create opportunities for wrongdoing, especially if such behavior is likely to go undetected because of poor supervision. The embarrassment caused by misconduct can damage the public trust, undermine officer morale, and expose agencies to unnecessary—and, in many cases, costly—litigation.1 Consequently, a clear understanding of the psychology underlying unethical behavior is critical to every law enforcement supervisor and manager at every level of an organization, regardless of one’s agency or mission.

Law enforcement agencies go to great lengths to recruit, hire, and train only the most qualified applicants—candidates who have already demonstrated a track record of good moral values and ethical conduct. Similarly, most officers support the agency, its values, and its mission, performing their duties ethically while avoiding any misconduct or abuse of authority. Yet despite the best efforts of organizations everywhere, it seems that one does not have to look very far these days to find examples of police misconduct, particularly in the popular press.2 Even more disturbing, however, is that many of the officers engaged in immoral or unethical behavior previously demonstrated good service records, absent any of the “evil” typically associated with corruption or abuse.

While it is probably true that at least some of the officers who engage in illicit activities managed somehow to slip through the cracks in the hiring process and simply continued their unethical ways, this account fails to explain how otherwise good officers become involved in misconduct. The purpose of this article is to familiarize law enforcement managers and supervisors with the cognitive rationalizations that can contribute to unethical behavior. The article also offers strategies and suggestions intended to mitigate misconduct, before it actually occurs, by developing a culture of ethics.
Moral Responsibility and Disengagement

Most law enforcement professionals are, at their core, good, ethical, and caring people. Despite the overuse of a popular cliché, many officers do in fact enter law enforcement because they want to make a positive difference in their communities. Officers frequently espouse strong, positive moral values while working diligently—in many cases, at great personal risk—to bring dangerous criminals to justice. Doing so provides officers with a strong sense of personal satisfaction and self-worth. As a result, most officers do not—and in many cases cannot—engage in unethical conduct unless they can somehow justify to themselves the morality of their actions.3

Decades of empirical research have supported the idea that whenever a person’s behaviors are inconsistent with their attitudes or beliefs, the individual will experience a state of psychological tension—a phenomenon referred to as cognitive dissonance. 4 Because this tension is uncomfortable, people will modify any contradictory beliefs or behaviors in ways intended to reduce or eliminate discomfort. Officers can reduce psychological tension by changing one or more of their cognitions—that is, by modifying how they think about their actions and the consequences of those behaviors—or by adjusting their activities, attitudes, or beliefs in ways that are consistent with their values and self-image. Generally speaking, an officer will modify the cognition that is least resistant to change, which, in most cases, tends to be the officer’s attitudes, not behaviors.

One of the simplest ways that officers can reduce the psychological discomfort that accompanies misconduct is to cognitively restructure unethical behaviors in ways that make them seem personally and socially acceptable, thereby allowing officers to behave immorally while preserving their self-image as ethically good people. The following is a partial list of common rationalizations that officers can use to neutralize or excuse unethical conduct:5

Table 1: Rationalizing Misconduct
Strategy Description
Denial of Victim Alleging that because there is no legitimate victim, there is no misconduct.
Victim of Circumstance Behaving improperly because the officer had no other choice, either because of peer pressure or unethical supervision.
Denial of Injury Because nobody was hurt by the officer’s action, no misconduct actually occurred.
Advantageous Comparisons Minimizing or excusing one’s own wrongdoing by comparing it to the more egregious behavior of others.
Higher Cause Breaking the rules because of some higher calling—that is, removing a known felon from the streets.
Blame the Victim The victim invited any suffering or misconduct by breaking the law in the first place.
Dehumanization Using euphemistic language to dehumanize people, thereby making them easier to victimize.
Diffusion of Responsibility Relying on the diffusion of responsibility among the involved parties to excuse misconduct.

Denial of victim. Officers who rely on this tactic argue that because no victim exists, no real harm has been done. It is probably safe to suggest that officers do not generally regard drug dealers, thieves, and sexual predators as bona fide victims, regardless of the nature of an officer’s conduct. An officer, for instance, who takes money from a suspected drug dealer during the service of a search warrant might argue that because the dealer acquired the currency illegally, the dealer was never actually entitled to the proceeds. Rather, the money belongs to whoever possesses it at the time.

Victim of circumstance. Officers who utilize this method convince themselves that they behaved improperly only because they had no other choice. Officers may claim that they were the victims of peer pressure, an unethical supervisor, or an environment where “everyone else is doing it,” so what else could they possibly have done? Regardless of the context, these officers excuse their conduct by alleging that they had no alternative but to act unethically.

Denial of injury. Using this form of rationalization, officers persuade themselves that because nobody was actually hurt by their actions, their behavior was not really immoral. This explanation is especially common in cases involving drugs, stolen property, or large amounts of untraceable cash where it can be difficult, if not impossible, to identify an injured party. Officers who use this tactic may further neutralize their deviant conduct by comparing it to the harm being done by the drug dealer from whom the money was stolen.

Advantageous comparisons. Officers who depend on this explanation rely on selective social comparisons to defend their conduct. Officers who falsify a police report to convict a suspected drug dealer, for example, might defend their actions by minimizing their participation or the frequency of their unethical behavior, while at the same time vilifying a coworker as someone who “lies all the time on reports.” In comparison to an officer who routinely falsifies reports, the first officer’s conduct can seem less egregious.

Higher cause. Officers who practice this type of cognitive restructuring argue that sometimes, it may be necessary to break certain rules to serve a higher calling or to achieve a more important goal. An officer who conducts an unlawful search to uncover evidence against a suspected pedophile might reason that the nature of the crime justifies breaking the rules. “The ends justify the means,” officers might assert—suggesting that they did what was necessary, regardless of the legality or morality of their conduct, to put a dangerous criminal behind bars. This form of rationalization can be especially disturbing because it goes beyond merely excusing or justifying deviant behavior to the point of actually glorifying certain forms of wrongdoing in the name of “justice” or “the greater good.”

Blame the victim. An officer who uses this form of justification blames the victim for any misconduct or abuse. If, for instance, officers use unreasonable force on a suspected drug dealer, they can simply argue that the victim brought on this suffering by violating the law. “If the dealer doesn’t want to get beat up, the dealer should obey the law,” the officer might reason. “I’m not using force on law-abiding citizens, only on drug dealers; they give up their rights when they break the rules.” By assigning blame to the victim, the officer not only finds a way to excuse any wrongdoing, but also a way to feel sanctimonious about doing so.

Dehumanization. The amount of guilt or shame officers feel for behaving unethically depends, at least in part, on how they regard the person being abused. To avoid the feelings of self-censorship or guilt that often accompany misconduct, officers can employ euphemistic language to strip victims of their humanity. Using terms like “dirtbag” to describe law violators has the effect of dehumanizing intended targets, generally making it easier for officers to justify, ignore, or minimize the harmful effects of their actions, while at the same time reducing their personal responsibility for behaving in ways that they know are wrong.

Diffusion of responsibility. An officer who uses this excuse relies on the shared participation—and, by extension, the shared guilt—of everyone involved in an incident of misconduct to excuse or reduce any personal culpability. With each additional accomplice, every individual officer is seen as that much less responsible for any wrongdoing that might have occurred. If, for instance, money is stolen from an arrestee, officers might assert that there were many officers at the crime scene who could have done this, so an individual cannot be blamed. Similarly, if ten officers were involved in the service of a search warrant, then each officer is only one-tenth responsible for any misconduct that occurs.
Misconduct’s Slippery Slope

It is important to note that most officers do not jump headfirst into large-scale misconduct—instead, they weigh in gradually in a process referred to as incrementalism.6 The strength and ease with which officers can rationalize unethical behavior also depends, at least in part, on how they view their conduct, the people harmed by their actions, and the consequences that flow from their actions. An officer’s initial slide down the slippery slope of misconduct can begin with nothing more than simple policy violations that, if left unchecked, generate a mild feeling of psychological tension or discomfort. However, by learning to rationalize wrongdoing in ways that make it psychologically and morally acceptable, officers are able to relieve any feelings of distress or discomfort, effectively disengaging their moral compasses.

Officers can employ cognitive rationalizations prospectively (before the corrupt act) to forestall guilt and resistance, or retrospectively (after the misconduct) to erase any regrets. In either case, the more frequently an officer rationalizes deviant behavior, the easier each subsequent instance of misconduct becomes.7This is because the more frequently officers employ rationalizations, the easier it becomes to activate similar thought patterns in the future. With time and repeated experience, rationalizations can eventually become part of the habitual, automatic, effortless ways that officers think about themselves, their duties, and the consequences of their actions, eventually allowing officers to engage in increasingly egregious acts of misconduct with little, if any, of the guilt or shame commonly associated with wrongdoing.

As officers learn to pay less attention to the morality of their actions, the ways they think about misconduct—that is, their attitudes, beliefs, and values—may begin to change as well. Officers can begin defining behaviors that were once seen as unethical or immoral as necessary parts of completing their assigned duties. Even more troubling, however, is that once rationalizations become part of an agency’s dominant culture, they can alter the ways officers define misconduct, particularly if wrongdoings are rewarded either informally by an officer’s peer group or formally by the organization.
Ethics Education

Law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, as well as abroad, have begun to recognize the importance of ethics training. While such attention represents a significant step in the right direction, ethical instruction is often limited to little more than the discussion and development of proper moral values—an approach commonly referred to as character education.8 Proponents of this method suggest that officers who possess the right values—and, by extension, the right character—will always do the right thing, regardless of the circumstances. Although few people would argue with the importance of good moral values and character, ethical decisions are not always simple.

Before officers can act ethically, they must recognize the moral nature of a situation; decide on a specific and, hopefully, ethical course of action; possess the requisite moral motivation to take action; and demonstrate the character necessary to follow through with his decision.9 To further complicate matters, even the best of intentions can be thwarted by peer pressure or fear of retaliation. For example, the 2003 National Business Ethics Survey found that approximately 40 percent of those surveyed would not report misconduct if they observed it because of fear of reprisal from management.10

This cloud does, however, contain a silver lining. Research has demonstrated that ethics education can assist officers in better navigating moral challenges by increasing ethical awareness and moral reasoning—two critical aspects of ethical decision making.11 However, conducting meaningful ethics education requires more than lengthy philosophical lectures on the importance of character. Rather, instructors should focus on facilitating a dialogue that challenges officers on key moral issues and assumptions; tests their reasoning and decision-making skills; and allows them to share their experiences in a safe, supportive environment.12

For ethics education to be truly effective, organizations must make moral discussions a regular part of the agency’s training program. In the same way that officers routinely train in defensive tactics, firearms, and law to better prime them for field duties, officers should prepare equally well for any ethical issues they might encounter.13 Supervisors can stimulate ethical discussions with a video documentary, news clip, or fictional story. Regardless of the stimulus, however, the more frequently officers discuss ethics, the better able they will be to recognize a moral dilemma, make the appropriate ethical decision, and demonstrate the moral courage necessary to behave honorably.

Next, law enforcement agencies must establish a clear code of ethical conduct, including a set of core values and mission statement. Merely establishing a code of ethical conduct is not enough, however; the department’s top management must lead by example. It is important to remember that a code of conduct applies equally to employees at all levels of an organization.14 As most leaders can confirm from experience, officers can be surprisingly quick to point out any inconsistencies between the organization’s stated values and the conduct of senior management. If leaders expect officers to behave ethically, leaders must model the way.

Departments must also work to create systems that reward ethical conduct and punish unethical behavior.15 Core values and codes of conduct are of little value if they are not supported by wider agency objectives that reward ethical actions. Not only should law enforcement organizations reward officers for behaving ethically, they must also seriously address officers’ ethical concerns by thoroughly investigating any allegations, while protecting the confidentiality of those reporting such incidents. And, finally, agencies should strive to create an open environment where ethical issues can be discussed without fear of punishment or reprisal.

In the end, mitigating and, hopefully, eliminating misconduct require regular ethics training, high ethical standards, appropriate reward systems, and a culture in which ethical issues are discussed freely. While the responsibility for creating a culture of ethics rests with leadership, individual officers must do their part to behave ethically, support the moral conduct of others, and challenge misconduct in all its forms. Only by remaining vigilant to the psychology of misconduct can law enforcement professionals focus attention back on the positive aspects of their profession, while enjoying the high levels of public trust necessary to do their jobs. ■

 

 

 

United Nations

 

CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment

 

The States Parties to this Convention,

Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Recognizing that those rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person,

Considering the obligation of States under the Charter, in particular Article 55, to promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Having regard to article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which provide that no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,

Having regard also to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the General Assembly on 9 December 1975 (resolution 3452 (XXX)),

Desiring to make more effective the struggle against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world,

Have agreed as follows:

Part I

Article 1

  1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
  2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

Article 2

  1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
  3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

Article 3

  1. No State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
  2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

Article 4

  1. Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
  2. Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.

Article 5

  1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offences referred to in article 4 in the following cases:
    1. When the offences are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;
    2. When the alleged offender is a national of that State;
    3. When the victim was a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.
  2. Each State Party shall likewise take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over such offences in cases where the alleged offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction and it does not extradite him pursuant to article 8 to any of the States mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this article.
  3. This Convention does not exclude any criminal jurisdiction exercised in accordance with internal law.

Article 6

  1. Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is present, shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence. The custody and other legal measures shall be as provided in the law of that State but may be continued only for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted.
  2. Such State shall immediately make a preliminary inquiry into the facts.
  3. Any person in custody pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article shall be assisted in communicating immediately with the nearest appropriate representative of the State of which he is a national, or, if he is a stateless person, to the representative of the State where he usually resides.
  4. When a State, pursuant to this article, has taken a person into custody, it shall immediately notify the States referred to in article 5, paragraph 1, of the fact that such person is in custody and of the circumstances which warrant his detention. The State which makes the preliminary inquiry contemplated in paragraph 2 of this article shall promptly report its findings to the said State and shall indicate whether it intends to exercise jurisdiction.

Article 7

  1. The State Party in territory under whose jurisdiction a person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found, shall in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.
  2. These authorities shall take their decision in the same manner as in the case of any ordinary offence of a serious nature under the law of that State. In the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 2, the standards of evidence required for prosecution and conviction shall in no way be less stringent than those which apply in the cases referred to in article 5, paragraph 1.
  3. Any person regarding whom proceedings are brought in connection with any of the offences referred to in article 4 shall be guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of the proceedings.

Article 8

  1. The offences referred to in article 4 shall be deemed to be included as extraditable offences in any extradition treaty existing between States Parties. States Parties undertake to include such offences as extraditable offences in every extradition treaty to be concluded between them.
  2. If a State Party which makes extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty receives a request for extradition from another State Party with which it has no extradition treaty, it may consider this Convention as the legal basis for extradition in respect of such offenses. Extradition shall be subject to the other conditions provided by the law of the requested State.
  3. States Parties which do not make extradition conditional on the existence of a treaty shall recognize such offences as extraditable offences between themselves subject to the conditions provided by the law of the requested state.
  4. Such offences shall be treated, for the purpose of extradition between States Parties, as if they had been committed not only in the place in which they occurred but also in the territories of the States required to establish their jurisdiction in accordance with article 5, paragraph 1.

Article 9

  1. States Parties shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with civil proceedings brought in respect of any of the offences referred to in article 4, including the supply of all evidence at their disposal necessary for the proceedings.
  2. States Parties shall carry out their obligations under paragraph 1 of this article in conformity with any treaties on mutual judicial assistance that may exist between them.

Article 10

  1. Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.
  2. Each State Party shall include this prohibition in the rules or instructions issued in regard to the duties and functions of any such persons.

Article 11

Each State Party shall keep under systematic review interrogation rules, instructions, methods and practices as well as arrangements for the custody and treatment of persons subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment in any territory under its jurisdiction, with a view to preventing any cases of torture.

Article 12

Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committee in any territory under its jurisdiction.

Article 13

Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.

Article 14

  1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of an act of torture, his dependents shall be entitled to compensation.
  2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other person to compensation which may exist under national law.

Article 15

Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.

Article 16

  1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture or references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international instrument or national law which prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or which relate to extradition or expulsion.

Article 17

  1. There shall be established a Committee against Torture (hereinafter referred to as the Committee) which shall carry out the functions hereinafter provided. The Committee shall consist of 10 experts of high moral standing and recognized competence in the field of human rights, who shall serve in their personal capacity. The experts shall be elected by the States Parties, consideration being given to equitable geographical distribution and to the usefulness of the participation of some persons having legal experience.
  2. The members of the Committee shall be elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by States Parties. Each State Party may nominate one person from among its own nationals. States Parties shall bear in mind the usefulness of nominating persons who are also members of the Human Rights Committee established under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and are willing to serve on the Committee against Torture.
  3. Elections of the members of the Committee shall be held at biennial meetings of States Parties convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. At those meetings, for which two thirds of the States Parties shall constitute a quorum, the persons elected to the Committee shall be those who obtain the largest number of votes and an absolute majority of the votes of the representatives of States Parties present and voting.
  4. The initial election shall be held no later than six months after the date of the entry into force of this Convention. At least four months before the date of each election, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall address a letter to the States Parties inviting them to submit their nominations within three months. The Secretary-General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all persons thus nominated, indicating the States Parties which have nominated them, and shall submit it to the States Parties.
  5. The members of the Committee shall be elected for a term of four years. They shall be eligible for re-election if renominated. However, the term of five of the members elected at the first election shall expire at the end of two years; immediately after the first election the names of these five members shall be chosen by lot by the chairman of the meeting referred to in paragraph 3.
  6. If a member of the Committee dies or resigns or for any other cause can no longer perform his Committee duties, the State Party which nominated him shall appoint another expert from among its nationals to serve for the remainder of his term, subject to the approval of the majority of the States Parties. The approval shall be considered given unless half or more of the States Parties respond negatively within six weeks after having been informed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the proposed appointment.
  7. States Parties shall be responsible for the expenses of the members of the Committee while they are in performance of Committee duties.

Article 18

  1. The Committee shall elect its officers for a term of two years. They may be re-elected.
  2. The Committee shall establish its own rules of procedure, but these rules shall provide, inter alia, that
    1. Six members shall constitute a quorum;
    2. Decisions of the Committee shall be made by a majority vote of the members present.
  3. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall provide the necessary staff and facilities for the effective performance of the functions of the Committee under this Convention.
  4. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall convene the initial meeting of the Committee. After its initial meeting, the Committee shall meet at such times as shall be provided in its rules of procedure.
  5. The State Parties shall be responsible for expenses incurred in connection with the holding of meetings of the States Parties and of the Committee, including reimbursement of the United Nations for any expenses, such as the cost of staff and facilities, incurred by the United Nations pursuant to paragraph 3 above.

Article 19

  1. The States Parties shall submit to the Committee, through the Secretary-General of the United Nations, reports on the measures they have taken to give effect to their undertakings under this Convention, within one year after the entry into force of this Convention for the State Party concerned. Thereafter the States Parties shall submit supplementary reports every four years on any new measures taken, and such other reports as the Committee may request.
  2. The Secretary-General shall transmit the reports to all States Parties.
  3. [Each report shall be considered by the Committee which may make such comments or suggestions on the report as it considers appropriate, and shall forward these to the State Party concerned. That State Party may respond with any observations it chooses to the Committee.
  4. The Committee may, at its discretion, decide to include any comments or suggestions made by it in accordance with paragraph 3, together with the observations thereon received from the State Party concerned, in its annual report made in accordance with article 24. If so requested by the State Party concerned, the Committee may also include a copy of the report submitted under paragraph 1.]

Article 20

  1. If the Committee receives reliable information which appears to it to contain well-founded indications that torture is being systematically practised in the territory of a State Party, the Committee shall invite that State Party to co-operate in the examination of the information and to this end to submit observations with regard to the information concerned.
  2. Taking into account any observations which may have been submitted by the State Party concerned as well as any other relevant information available to it, the Committee may, if it decides that this is warranted, designate one or more of its members to make a confidential inquiry and to report to the Committee urgently.
  3. If an inquiry is made in accordance with paragraph 2, the Committee shall seek the co-operation of the State Party concerned. In agreement with that State Party, such an inquiry may include a visit to its territory.
  4. After examining the findings of its member or members submitted in accordance with paragraph 2, the Committee shall transmit these findings to the State Party concerned together with any comments or suggestions which seem appropriate in view of the situation.
  5. All the proceedings of the Committee referred to in paragraphs 1 to 4 of this article shall be confidential, and at all stages of the proceedings the co-operation of the State Party shall be sought. After such proceedings have been completed with regard to an inquiry made in accordance with paragraph 2, the Committee may, after consultations with the State Party concerned, decide to include a summary account of the results of the proceedings in its annual report made in accordance with article 24.

Article 21

  1. A State Party to this Convention may at any time declare under this article 3 that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications to the effect that a State Party claims that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under this Convention. Such communications may be received and considered according to the procedures laid down in this article only if submitted by a State Party which has made a declaration recognizing in regard to itself the competence of the Committee. No communication shall be dealt with by the Committee under this article if it concerns a State Party which has not made such a declaration. Communications received under this article shall be dealt with in accordance with the following procedure:
    1. If a State Party considers that another State Party is not giving effect to the provisions of this Convention, it may, by written communication, bring the matter to the attention of that State Party. Within three months after the receipt of the communication the receiving State shall afford the State which sent the communication an explanation or any other statement in writing clarifying the matter which should include, to the extent possible and pertinent, references to domestic procedures and remedies taken, pending, or available in the matter.
    2. If the matter is not adjusted to the satisfaction of both States Parties concerned within six months after the receipt by the receiving State of the initial communication, either State shall have the right to refer the matter to the Committee by notice given to the Committee and to the other State.
    3. The Committee shall deal with a matter referred to it under this article only after it has ascertained that all domestic remedies have been invoked and exhausted in the matter, in conformity with the generally recognized principles of international law. This shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or is unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who is the victim of the violation of this Convention.
    4. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications under this article.
    5. Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (c), the Committee shall make available its good offices to the States Parties concerned with a view to a friendly solution of the matter on the basis of respect for the obligations provided for in the present Convention. For this purpose, the Committee may, when appropriate, set up an ad hoc conciliation commission.
    6. In any matter referred to it under this article, the Committee may call upon the States Parties concerned, referred to in subparagraph (b), to supply any relevant information.
    7. The States Parties concerned, referred to in subparagraph (b), shall have the right to be represented when the matter is being considered by the Committee and to make submissions orally and/or in writing.
    8. The Committee shall, within 12 months after the date of receipt of notice under subparagraph (b), submit a report.
      1. If a solution within the terms of subparagraph (e) is reached, the Committee shall confine its report to a brief statement of the facts and of the solution reached.
      2. If a solution within the terms of subparagraph (e) is not reached, the Committee shall confine its report to a brief statement of the facts; the written submissions and record of the oral submissions made by the States Parties concerned shall be attached to the report.

In every matter, the report shall be communicated to the States Parties concerned.

  1. The provisions of this article shall come into force when five States Parties to this Convention have made declarations under paragraph 1 of this article. Such declarations shall be deposited by the States Parties with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the other States Parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General. Such a withdrawal shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter which is the subject of a communication already transmitted under this article; no further communication by any State Party shall be received under this article after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the Secretary-General, unless the State Party concerned has made a new declaration.

Article 22

  1. A State Party to this Convention may at any time declare under this article that it recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications from or on behalf of individuals subject to its jurisdiction who claim to be victims of a violation by a State Party of the provisions of the Convention. No communication shall be received by the Committee if it concerns a State Party to the Convention which has not made such a declaration.
  2. The Committee shall consider inadmissible any communication under this article which is anonymous, or which it considers to be an abuse of the right of submission of such communications or to be incompatible with the provisions of this Convention.
  3. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2, the Committee shall bring any communication submitted to it under this article to the attention of the State Party to this Convention which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 and is alleged to be violating any provisions of the Convention. Within six months, the receiving State shall submit to the Committee written explanations or statements clarifying the matter and the remedy, if any, that may have been taken by that State.
  4. The Committee shall consider communications received under this article in the light of all information made available to it by or on behalf of the individual and by the State Party concerned.
  5. The Committee shall not consider any communication from an individual under this article unless it has ascertained that:
    1. The same matter has not been, and is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement;
    2. The individual has exhausted all available domestic remedies; this shall not be the rule where the application of the remedies is unreasonably prolonged or is unlikely to bring effective relief to the person who is the victim of the violation of this Convention.
  6. The Committee shall hold closed meetings when examining communications under this article.
  7. The Committee shall forward its views to the State Party concerned and to the individual.
  8. The provisions of this article shall come into force when five States Parties to this Convention have made declarations under paragraph 1 of this article. Such declarations shall be deposited by the States Parties with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall transmit parties thereof to the other States Parties. A declaration may be withdrawn at any time by notification to the Secretary-General. Such a withdrawal shall not prejudice the consideration of any matter which is the subject of a communication already transmitted under this article; no further communication by or on behalf of an individual shall be received under this article after the notification of withdrawal of the declaration has been received by the Secretary-General, unless the State Party concerned has made a new declaration.

Article 23

The members of the Committee, and of the ad hoc conciliation commissions which may be appointed under article 21, paragraph 1 (e), shall be entitled to the facilities, privileges and immunities of experts on missions for the United Nations as laid down in the relevant sections of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.

Article 24

The Committee shall submit an annual report on its activities under this Convention to the States Parties and to the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Part III

Article 25

  1. This Convention is open for signature by all States.
  2. This Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 26

This Convention is open to accession by all States. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 27

  1. This Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.
  2. For each State ratifying this Convention or acceding to it after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or accession.

Article 28

  1. Each State may, at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention or accession thereto, declare that it does not recognize the competence of the Committee provided for in article 20.
  2. Any State Party having made a reservation in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article may, at any time, withdraw this reservation by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 29

  1. Any State Party to this Convention may propose an amendment and file it with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall thereupon communicate the proposed amendment to the States Parties to this Convention with a request that they notify him whether they favour a conference of States Parties for the purpose of considering and voting upon the proposal. In the event that within four months from the date of such communication at least one third of the State Parties favours such a conference, the Secretary-General shall convene the conference under the auspices of the United Nations. Any amendment adopted by a majority of the States Parties present and voting at the conference shall be submitted by the Secretary-General to all the States Parties for acceptance.
  2. An amendment adopted in accordance with paragraph 1 shall enter into force when two thirds of the States Parties to this Convention have notified the Secretary-General of the United Nations that they have accepted it in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.
  3. When amendments enter into force, they shall be binding on those States Parties which have accepted them, other States Parties still being bound by the provisions of this Convention and any earlier amendments which they have accepted.

Article 30

  1. Any dispute between two or more States Parties concerning the interpretation or application of this Convention which cannot be settled through negotiation, shall, at the request of one of them, be submitted to arbitration. If within six months from the date of the request for arbitration the Parties are unable to agree on the organization of the arbitration, any one of those Parties may refer the dispute to the International Court of Justice by request in conformity with the Statute of the Court.
  2. Each State may at the time of signature or ratification of this Convention or accession thereto, declare that it does not consider itself bound by the preceding paragraph. The other States Parties shall not be bound by the preceding paragraph with respect to any State Party having made such a reservation.
  3. Any State Party having made a reservation in accordance with the preceding paragraph may at any time withdraw this reservation by notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Article 31

  1. A State Party may denounce this Convention by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denunciation becomes effective one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
  2. Such a denunciation shall not have the effect of releasing the State Party from its obligations under this Convention in regard to any act or omission which occurs prior to the date at which the denunciation becomes effective. Nor shall denunciation prejudice in any way the continued consideration of any matter which is already under consideration by the Committee prior to the date at which the denunciation becomes effective.
  3. Following the date at which the denunciation of a State Party becomes effective, the Committee shall not commence consideration of any new matter regarding that State.

Article 32

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all members of the United Nations and all States which have signed this Convention or acceded to it, or the following particulars:

  1. Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles 25 and 26;
  2. The date of entry into force of this Convention under article 27, and the date of the entry into force of any amendments under article 29;
  3. Denunciations under article 31.

Article 33

  1. This Convention, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
  2. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of this Convention to all States.

 

PIL –  Why NOT 3rd degree Torture , Death Sentence to  Corrupt Judges , Police & Doctors

An  Appeal to National Human Rights Commission of  India and Supreme Court of  India

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO. OF 2015

IN THE MATTER OF

NAGARAJA . M.R

editor SOS e Clarion of Dalit & SOS e Voice for Justice
# LIG 2 , No 761 ,, HUDCO First Stage , Laxmikantanagar ,
Hebbal , Mysore – 570017 , Karnataka State
.
….Petitioner

Versus

Honourable Chief Justice of India , Supreme Court of India & Others

….Respondents

PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 12 to ARTICLE 35 & ARTICLE 51A OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA FOR ISSUANCE OF A WRIT IN THE NATURE OF MANDAMUS UNDER ARTICLE 32 & ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA.

To ,
1. Hon’ble The Chief Justice of India and His Lordship’s Companion Justices of the Supreme Court of India.

2. Hon’ble Chairman , National Human Rights Commission of India

 

 

The Humble petition of the  Petitioner above named.

MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH :

1. Facts of the case:
“Power will go to the hands of rascals, , rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for
power and will be lost in political squabbles . A day would come when even air & water will be taxed.” Sir Winston made this statement in the House of Commons just before the independence of India & Pakistan. Sadly , the forewarning of Late Winston Churchill has been proved right by some of our criminal , corrupt public servants , corrupt judges , corrupt  police & corrupt  doctors.

2.  some  unfit people  based on their  connections , money power , etc  everything else other than MERIT  , HONESTY , INTEGRITY  have  become  Judges ,  Police & Doctors. These  unfit people have used criminal means for their selection and indulge in crimes by  selling their official duties for a price. Recent example : Delhi  Judge Selection Examination , KPSC & VYAPAM scams.

3. These unfit judges declare  rich criminals as innocents & send innocents to jail for a price. These unfit police  leave criminals , file B report to close cases , change charge sheet , change path of investigation / prosecution ,  fit innocents in cases using 3rd  degree torture methods , does contract / supari killing in the name of encounters , etc all for a price. These  corrupt doctors  give false post mortem reports , misguiding medico legal opinions  and  illegally advice police  how to torture a human being without leaving any evidences.

4.  Honest few in judiciary , police , health services & public services  are just mute spectators , they are not raising their voice , not legally prosecuting their corrupt colleagues.  It also amounts to corroboration &  a crime.

5 .  Due to these type of match fixing by Judges & police  many innocents are serving jail sentence behind bars & some have been hanged ,  while the rich crooks are roaming free.

2. Question(s) of Law:

Are  doctors , police & Judges above law ? Can  Doctors , Judges & Police Commit crimes , go scot free ? Can Judges & Police intentionally neglect ( to aid criminals ) their duties , while shamelessly drawing tens of thousands of rupees monthly salary & perks on time without fail from public exchequer.

Is it not the duty of doctor  to heal the pain of a human being rather than give pain to a human being ? is a doctor legally authorized to torture  or  aid torture of a human being ?

Is it not the duty of police to uphold our law , protect  public , common man  rather  than illegally  fixing them in cases ? are police legally authorized to  subject a human being to torture ? Are  not police  responsible for life , health & safety of persons under their custody ?

Is it not the duty of a judge to uphold law , protect public ? is it not his duty  to check the veracity of claims , reports by police , doctors  giving fake evidences , reports ? is it not duty of a judge to protect  life , health & safety of persons under judicial custody  or serving  prison sentence based on judicial orders ?

3. Grounds:

All Indian citizens are  guaranteed  with fundamental rights of  life  , liberty , health , safety , equitable justice  under constitution of india.

All Indian citizens are  guaranteed  with  human  rights of  life  , liberty , health , safety , equitable justice  under constitution of india  as india is also a signatory of UN Human Rights Charter.

All  Human Beings  are  guaranteed  with  human  rights of  life  , liberty , health , safety , equitable justice   by  virtue of their  birth  itself  irrespective of any constitutional bodies  or statutory bodies.
Requests for equitable justice , Prosecution of corrupt public servants , corrupt doctors , corrupt judges , corrupt police. Request for supreme court orders to doctors ,  judges & police to perform  their duties properly.

4. Averment:

Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the concerned public servants in the following cases to perform their duties & to answer the questions.

PRAYER:
In the above premises, it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased:

a . Hereby , I do request the honorable supreme court of India to consider this as a PIL for : “writ of Mandamus” and to issue instructions to the concerned public servants in the following cases to perform their duties & to answer the questions.
b . to pass such other orders and further orders as may be deemed necessary on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.

c. to constitute impartial  statutory investigation committee  comprising  NGOs , press , police & judiciary  at taluk levels  to investigate cases of 3rd degree torture by law enforcement agencies . Essentially these committees  must include  a member from victim’s side  during investigation & prosecution. The  state government must bear the cost of  it’s  functioning  including  transportation , food , remuneration at actual rate.

d.   In the cases of 3rd degree torture , fake encounters  , there must be provision  for  2nd , 3rd  medical examination , medical opinion by doctors  appointed by  investigation committee.

e.  when government doctors are  caught giving false  post mortem reports , false  medical opinions  they must be dismissed from service  and legally prosecuted for  abetting  torture , attempt to murder or murder as the case may be.

f. when  police , jail staff or law enforcing personnel  are  caught  for  physically & mentally torturing a human being , an under trial or convict   they must be dismissed from service  and legally prosecuted for  abetting  torture , attempt to murder or murder as the case may be.

g. when  a judge is caught for giving biased  judicial order  without examining  the veracity of evidences , statements , reports given by police , law enforcement personnel , doctors , when a judge bases his judicial orders on  forced  confessions taken from under trials , convicts by 3rd degree torture methods , those judges  must be dismissed from service  and legally prosecuted for  abetting  torture , attempt to murder or murder as the case may be.

h.  when a judge  fails to protect life , health , safety of a prisoner , whether under trial or convict , those judges  must be dismissed from service  and legally prosecuted for  abetting  torture , attempt to murder or murder as the case may be.

I . as 3rd degree torture , fake encounters are pre meditated , cold blooded murders , heinous crimes , they are rarest of rare cases  and judges , police , law enforcement officials , doctors  abetting , executing 3rddegree torture , fake encounters must be  hanged till death. They are worse than KASAB.

j. the state government  must give government job  to one from victim’s family  and  must pay compensation at  actual living cost levels to that family .

k. the government must recover  that compensation cost from  salary , pension , properties of guilty judges , police ,  etc as land arrears.

l. to legally prosecute  under murder charges STF police , forest officials  who were responsible for 3rd degree torture ,  encounter deaths of tribals  in MM Hills , Karnataka during operation nab veerappan.

m. to legally prosecute under murder charges judges who failed to protect the lives of under trials ,  convicts  in operation nab veerappan.

n. to legally prosecute under murder charges government  doctors who gave  false  post mortem reports , false medical opinions  about fake encounters , 3rd degree torture of tribals  in operation nab veerappan.
o . to pass such other orders and further orders as may be deemed necessary on the facts and in the circumstances of the case.

FOR WHICH ACT OF KINDNESS, THE PETITIONER SHALL BE DUTY BOUND, EVER PRAY.

Dated : 10th December 2015 ………………….FILED BY: NAGARAJA.M.R.

Place :  Mysuru , India………………………….PETITIONER-IN-PERSON

 

Indian police: A law unto themselves

 

 

The new Human Rights Watch report is a damning indictment of dysfunction, abuse and impunity in the Indian police system, says IPS veteran K S Subramanian

“This week I was told to do an encounter…. I am looking for my target…. I will eliminate him.”

 Police officer to Human Rights Watch (January 2009)

 

 

In its 118-page indictment of the Indian police titled ‘Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse, and Impunity in the Indian Police’, released recently, the US-based agency Human Rights Watch (HRW) has made a devastating assessment of the pervasive human rights violations committed by the Indian police and called upon the Government of India to make necessary and possible reforms in police structure and practices.

Under the Police Act 1861, which is still in force, the police in India are nothing more than a government department lacking the autonomy under rule of law that exists for the police in other leading democracies. No doubt the Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land but the police are governed by the repressive 1861 Police Act and the regressive Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in their day-to-day operations. Indictment of the police in India must thus be taken as an indictment of the governments in India, both central and state.

We begin by briefly setting out the overall context in which the HRW report should be viewed. We then examine the contents of the report. We conclude by noting some of its limitations.

Context 

In 1856, the Board of Directors of the East India Company had observed that the Indian police were ‘all but useless’ in the prevention and ‘sadly inefficient’ in the detection of crime, and ‘unscrupulous’ in the exercise of authority with a ‘generalised reputation for corruption and oppression’. The view was largely endorsed by the Police Commission of 1902.

After independence, the first ever National Police Commission (NPC) set up by the post-Emergency Janata Party government of 1977, documented the prevailing conditions in the Indian police in eight volumes (1979-81) and recommended far-reaching reforms. A partisan Indira Gandhi-led Congress regime, returning to power in 1980, ignored the NPC recommendations and also the Shah Commission report on Emergency excesses and the L P Singh Committee report on reform of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Other enquiries have followed in the subsequent period: the Julio Ribeiro Committee (1998, 1999); the Padmanabhiah Committee (2000); the Malimath Committee (2003); the Soli Sorabji Committee (2005) and, last but not least, the 2007 report, ‘Public Order’, by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (SARC).

The Police Act Drafting Committee (PADC) led by Soli Sorabji submitted its report in October 2006 and a little earlier, in September 2006, the Supreme Court in the landmark Prakash Singh case issued seven directions to central and state governments in India to implement police reform measures as recommended by the NPC.

In 2007, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission led by Veerappa Moily submitted a report on ‘Public Order’, which suggested structural and procedural reforms much in advance of the previous recommendations of the NPC and consolidating the recommendations of the PADC as well. The May 2009 Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh had, in its election manifesto, expressed its support for police reforms.

Supreme Court directions 

The September 2006 Supreme Court directions to state and central governments asked them to

·         constitute State Security Commissions to ensure that the state governments do not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police; to lay down broad policy guidelines, and to evaluate the performance of the state police;

·         ensure that the Director General of Police is appointed through a merit-based, transparent process and enjoys a minimum tenure of two years;

·         ensure that other police officers on operational duties (including Superintendents of Police in-charge of districts and Station House Officers in-charge of police stations) have a minimum tenure of two years;

·         set up a Police Establishment Board to decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service related matters of police officers of and below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police and to make recommendations on postings and transfers of officers above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police;

·         set up a National Security Commission at the Union level to prepare a panel for selection and placement of Chiefs of the Central Police Organisations (CPOs), who should also be given a minimum tenure of two years;

·         set up independent Police Complaints Authorities at the state and district levels to look into public complaints against police officers in cases of serious misconduct, including custodial death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody;

·         separate the investigation and law and order functions of the police.

The SARC set up by the present government in its previous incarnation has, in its report ‘Public Order’ endorsed and carried forward the recommendations of the NPC and the Sorabji Committee and in addition has made a recommendation for the fundamental restructuring of the police organisation into three wings dealing with three separate aspects of policing: investigation, law and order and local policing.  All these reports are pending with the Government of India, which has not yet indicated the direction in which it would like to move.

The central government’s position so far has been to make no changes in the existing police structure, which has not only been retained but also further strengthened by the phenomenal increase in the strength of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPFs), especially the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), together with the increasing number of repressive legislations. Not just lack of political will to change, but an active and strong political will to maintain the existing order has been shown.

Every political party which has come to power at the Centre after independence (except the Janata Party government in 1977) has found the British-built police, intelligence and criminal justice systems not only useful but also essential for the retention of its political power. Menacingly, sections of this police force actively participated in the violence and destruction perpetrated during the anti-minority violence in Orissa 2008, Gujarat 2002, Babri Masjid 1992 and the anti-Sikh riots 1984, not to mention the persistent anti-dalit/adivasi/minority violence in the country for a long period.  All this together with the manner in which civil society groups have often been allowed to take the law into their own hands and perpetrate violence, indicate a situation in which the state in India appears to have lost its legitimacy and sovereignty.

Contents 

The Human Rights Watch report is based on a year of research work and examines police practices in three states: Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, which report the largest number of human rights abuses by the police in India as documented by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Included in the report are cases which show the varying conditions in rural and urban settings and in richer and poorer states. HRW consulted national police reform experts and analysed existing extensive research on police practices and their human rights record nationwide, including government-sponsored studies, independent scholarship by senior police and criminal justice experts and domestic and foreign NGO reports.

HRW examined cases arising since 2005, which illustrate the most common human rights abuses by the police. Over 60 victims and witnesses, including 37 victims of police torture or ill-treatment, or members of their families, were interviewed. Eight individuals arrested or detained on false charges though not suffering torture, were interviewed along with six interviews with family members and lawyers of individuals killed by police in alleged shoot-outs or deaths in custody. Eleven interviews were held with individuals for whom police had failed to register or investigate crimes. Group interviews were held with more than a dozen individuals threatened and harassed along with extortion of money on multiple occasions.

Findings from research into institutional problems at the police station level not widely reported or investigated are included. HRW also visited nine police stations in big and small cities and villages. Some officers spent full days with HRW to give them a better understanding of their day-to-day practices.

About 80 police officers of different ranks were interviewed. Forty-five constables and others were interviewed inside police stations and outside in the presence of officers above the rank of assistant sub-inspector; a dozen other low-ranking officers were spoken to in the presence of their superiors. Also interviewed were 20 junior-ranking officers who worked as heads of police stations, investigators and assistants to senior police, many speaking on condition of anonymity. Fourteen current senior-ranking police officers, including chief-ranking officers of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh were interviewed along with seven former police officers, including former members of the National Human Rights Commission. Thus, the range of human interest coverage and documentation by HRW for this study is impressive.

Characterised as a ‘dangerous anachronism’, the Indian police were found by HRW to have failed to evolve from the ruler-supportive, repressive force they were designed to be under colonial rule. While much of India is in the process of rapid modernisation, the police use abuse and threats as the primary tools of investigation and law enforcement. The institutional culture discourages officers from acting otherwise, failing to give them the resources, training, ethical environment and encouragement to develop professional policing tactics. Many officers are ordered or expected to commit abuses.

The report examines two separate but linked issues: i) abuses by the police against individuals, usually criminal suspects; and ii) the conditions that facilitated and encouraged the police to commit those abuses.

The findings are that the misbehaviour is deeply rooted in institutional practice. Government failure to enforce accountability and to overhaul the structure encourages abusive practices to continue. Drawing on extensive literature that exists and its own new research HRW found four clusters of issues that need attention: a) police failure to investigate crimes; b) arrest on false charges and illegal detention; c) torture and ill-treatment; d) extrajudicial killings.

Traditionally marginalised groups are especially vulnerable to the first three abuses. Though arising from the discriminatory biases of the police, the vulnerability is a product of an abusive police culture related to an ability to pay a bribe, trade social status or call on political connections.

Why do the abuses persist?    

Part of the problem is the working conditions of individual officers.  The civil police, especially constables, live and work in abysmal conditions. They are often exhausted, demoralised, always on call, working long hours without shifts and necessary equipment only to return to government provided tents or filthy barracks for a few hours of sleep. Junior-ranking officers often face unrealistic demands from their superiors to solve cases quickly. Even if officially encouraged, their use of professional crime investigation techniques is effectively discouraged by the dearth of time, training and equipment. Local political figures frequently intervene in investigations and sometimes act to protect known criminals.

To get around these systemic problems, many officers take ‘short cuts’: refusal to register complaints; illegal detention, torture and ill-treatment of alleged criminals; eliciting of confessions known to be false.  Such abuses contribute to a climate of fear in which many Indians avoid contact with the police who do not get public cooperation so essential to solving and preventing crimes.  A vicious cycle is created in which the crimes go unreported and unpunished and the pressure of the police mounts to deal with rising criminality.

The Manmohan Singh government which came to power in May 2009 has promised to pursue police reform. It faces the challenge of transforming the police institution from one that enables and encourages abuse to one that promotes human rights and rule of law. A critical step is to hold abusive officers accountable. Incentives to officers must change. Disobedience to illegal orders, failure to meet superiors’ expectation to solve crimes without the necessary means must not be punished. In the long run, a sustainable drop in police abuses can only come from overhauling archaic police laws and structures and investing in training, personnel and equipment to build professional, rights-respecting police forces that are needed.

Dangerous state of disrepair

The Indian police is tasked to tackle armed militancy, terrorism and organised crime but lack of political will to invest in improvements has overstretched an ill-equipped police force. India has just one civil police officer to every 1,037 Indian residents, far below the Asian average of one officer per 558 people and a global average of 333 people. However, the creation of an increasing number of paramilitary police forces is getting priority. Though law and order and the police are state subjects in the Constitution, the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPFs) are growing in numbers. Though meant for specific purposes such as border security and industrial security, they are increasingly being deployed in local conflict management as requested by state governments themselves.

Manpower deployment for ‘VIP’ security and misuse of police ‘orderlies’ as family servants continue. Colonial police laws do not allow lower-rank police to have operational authority or advanced professional training. Constables make up 85% of the Indian police though for the most part they are not trained to investigate cases. Junior officers have little chances of   promotion and are subject to the unrealistic demands of the senior officers who are, for the most part, directly recruited to management positions at the top with no first-hand knowledge of the difficulties of the constabulary.

Political interference and stalled reforms  

Partisan policing, including politically motivated refusal to register complaints, arbitrary detention and torture and killings, sometimes perpetrated at the behest of national and state-level politicians, have produced unprecedented levels of public distrust and fear of the police. The Supreme Court judgment in 2006 in the Prakash Singh case directed the central and state governments to enact new police laws to reduce political interference. However, the response has been discouraging with the central government, which funds most police activities in the country, including state police budgets, disingenuously holding that police are a state subject in the Constitution and thus passing the buck to state governments and the latter going about the business at their own pace or altogether resisting the move.

Key government officials seem hesitant to accept the need for far-reaching reforms including the need to make the police accountable for widespread human rights violations. The immediate need to improve the living conditions of the subordinate police, which encourages such violations, is also not widely recognised.

Failure to register and investigate cases 

Police officers are often under pressure not to register cases on account of political pressure from ruling parties keen to show that the law and order situation in their states is not bad. Many of the victims of such non-registration of cases belong to the deprived communities such as the dalits and adivasis. Crime victims who are poor are often unable to obtain police assistance. They cannot afford to pay the bribes that the police demand for registration of cases or for the cost of investigation that the victims are expected to pay on behalf of the police. They may also find it more difficult to elicit political support than the socially more powerful perpetrators of crime.

Illegal arrest, detention and police torture

Arrests are often made in retaliation for complaints of police abuse, in return for bribes or due to political considerations or influence of powerful local political figures. The police also often use coercion and torture to elicit confessions to fabricated charges. The procedure indicated in the Supreme Court in D K Basu v West Bengal included production of a suspect before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. Severe ill-treatment is sometimes intensified over a period of an individual’s detention. Individuals who are poor and socially or politically marginal are especially vulnerable to prolonged detention and repeated ill-treatment because they are unable to pay a bribe or have no connections with local political figures who can intervene.

Arrested children are often not provided the protections required in India’s Juvenile Justice Act. Also frequent are sexual and physical harassment of deprived women in custody. Some police officers admit that ‘using force’ is their primary investigative tool. False confessions lead police to gather faulty evidence, which often leads to cases being thrown out of court or in wrongful convictions.

Impunity for extrajudicial killings        

While the practice is not the norm in most of India, fake encounter killings do occur frequently. The NHRC reported 201 complaints of such killings in the state of Uttar Pradesh in 2007, more than any other state. Police are usually the only witnesses to these alleged encounters, which are typically carried out by junior officials. There is evidence of unofficial sanction for such practices. Criminal suspects, members of minority communities are often the victims of fake encounter killings.

Obstacles to police accountability               

HRW reports that efforts at police accountability are hampered by systematic police deniability arising from the absence of records, post-mortem examination, record of arrest and detention. Independent investigations are rare in much of India despite the existence of National and State Human Rights Commissions. Investigations undertaken by the police or at the behest of other agencies are hampered by a ‘code of silence’ that makes police unlikely to disclose incriminating evidence. Criminal prosecutions by victims often do not take place because of fear of police retaliation. Further, section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides immunity from prosecution to all public officials without government sanction.

Efforts by the NHRC have often resulted in police investigating themselves. In most cases, the NHRC recommends only provision of interim compensation to victims without proper prosecution of officers. The country’s 18 state human rights commissions (SHRCs) vary in resources and willingness to act with local lawyers describing the staff as inadequate in number, lacking human rights training, and biased against complaints. In exceptional cases, the punishment is often temporary suspension or transfer of the accused. Until officers know that they will be prosecuted, fired, or their careers seriously damaged, the problem will not go away.

Conclusion

The HRW report, analysed above, is indeed an empowering document, which strengthens the hands of those targeted by government for fighting against police violations of human rights in the country. It is a solid contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in India. Some missing elements in the report may, however, be noted:

·         Despite the rhetoric on rule of law, constitutional provisions, the existence of human rights laws and institutions such as the NHRC, the fact remains that at bottom the Indian police are a government department functioning under government orders with hardly any meaningful autonomy, an issue that needs serious analysis.

·         The focus on crime and investigation detracts attention from the fact that the Indian police organisation, based on the colonial Irish paramilitary police model with specific characteristics as designed by Charles Napier in the 1840s, was originally set up to put down by brute force political resistance to British rule; that structure has not only been retained without change in the post-colonial period, but has been vastly strengthened to put down political resistance to regressive development policies, whether non-violent resistance as in the Narmada Bachao Andolan or violent resistance as in the Naxalite movement.

·         Most of the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code possess a narrow focus on security of state and public order at the cost of human rights protection and service provision, which needs to be removed along with similar reform of the Police Act of 1861.

·         The sample size of the HRW report (excluding Uttar Pradesh) may appear small considering that India is a large country with 28 states and 7 union territories.

·         The issues of decentralisation, democratisation and empowerment of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) for discharging police functions need to be addressed.

·         The sufferings of large sections of ordinary people in Jammu & Kashmir, the north-eastern states and the Central Tribal Belt including women and children, under the adverse impact of the imposition of ‘lawless laws’ such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Criminal Law Amendment Act, affecting human dignity needs addressing.

·         Intelligence systems oriented to security of the state and public order do not respect human rights concerns and priorities and must be addressed.

·         The structural reform of the Indian police recommended in the report on ‘Public Order’  by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission needs attention.

·         The role of the two All India Services, the IAS and the IPS, in over-all law and order management needs reconsideration.

 

 

Edited, printed , published owned by NAGARAJA.M.R. @ # LIG-2  No  761,HUDCO FIRST STAGE ,

OPP WATER WORKS , LAXMIKANTANAGAR , HEBBAL ,MYSURU – 570017  KARNATAKA  INDIA

 

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