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Report No. 152

13.3. Role of Police after Independence.-

After India became independent, it declared itself to be a Republic. It ceased to be a Police State instead it was transformed into a Welfare State. The Constitution guaranteed Fundamental Rights to the citizens and it also enacted new legislations, special laws, regulatory measures and progressive law reforms. The implementation and enforcement of many of these laws was entrusted to the police. Various laws including measures like Maintenance of Internal Security Act, Defence of India Act, Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act conferred wide discretionary power on the police.

Such powers are to be exercised in conformity with the Fundamental Rights and in accordance with the statutory provisions. Unfortunately, the police was not reorganized to meet the new challenge. Recruitment policies, training and hierarchical controls introduced during British days have basically continued to be in force even today with the result that the police have not been able to meet the need of the society.

In recent years, police have to perform difficult and delicate task particularly in view of the deteriorating law and order situation, communical riots, political turmoil, students unrest, terrorist activities, radical politicism like extremists and among others, the increasing number of white collar crimes like bribery and corruption, evasion of taxes, violation of fiscal laws and smuggling, etc. Organized criminal gangs have taken strong roots in the society.

Such criminal gangs use ultra modern weaponry, explosives and many other devices to completely smash the objectives without leaving a little, or no evidence at the place of offence. Similarly, dealing with insurgent and terrorist groups is also vastly different from dealing with the traditional criminals. This category of criminals is also well-trained, hardened and equipped with ultra modern weaponry. An ordinary policeman carrying a small ruler or even a gun does not match to the excruciating speed of terrorists.

The widening of the sphere of activities and responsibility has confronted the police with challenges and crisis ushering in a series of new and significant problems, for which they have not been trained or equipped so they fail to serve the people in accordance with the Constitutional and human rights norms.

In addition to aforementioned factors, prolonged stress and strain and a long hours of duty in connection with law and order and VIP duty, very little time is left for police to investigate cases for detection of crimes. The police, under pressure of quota of work assigned to them, driven by a desire to achieve quick results, leave the path of patience, reticence and scientific interrogation, instead they resort to the use of physical force in different forms to pressurise the suspect or accused to disclose all the facts known to him.

While law recognizes the need for use of force by the police in the discharge of their duties on some specified occasions like the dispersal of violent mob or the arrest of a violent bad character who may resist the arrest, they use force against the individual in their custody.

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