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Report No. 152

10. Effect of the proposed amendments on police functioning

Issue No. 10

Will the aforesaid steps not affect the functioning and morale of the police adversely in investigating cases and further whether it will result into non-investigation of crimes which will affect public order? What measures should be taken to avoid these situations?

Views of Academicians

None of the academicians have responded to the issue directly.

Views of the Judges

Out of the five judges two are of the view that it will adversely affect and two are of the view that there will be no adverse effect on the morale of police. One has not responded to the issue.

Views of the Advocates

All the six Advocates who have responded say that this will not affect the morale of the police and investigation will also not be adversely affected.

Views of the Police Officers

Out of the twelve police officers, six say that it will not affect the morale. 6 say that there will be no effect.

Views of State Governments/Union Territories

Out of nine responses received, five State Governments/Union Territories do not agree with the view. Government of West Bengal suggested that a balanced approach should be taken. The Government of Rajasthan emphasizes that in the short term the steps recommended will lead to some dislocation of police functioning and also erosion of police morale but ultimately they will help in reducing police excesses.

Once these steps are implemented, the police will function under a lot of constraints and the courts should take cognizance of the same. The courts would have to take into account the near absence of recovery of incriminating material and would have to rely on oral evidence. Thus a new interpretation of the Law of Evidence would emerge and any failure of the courts to place faith in police investigation would adversely affect public order in the long run.

The Government of Andhra Pradesh is of the view that the steps contemplated in the Working Paper will not affect the functioning and morale of the police. On the other hand, the police excess can be reduced to the minimum. Therefore, there is need and urgency for the police reforms which cannot brook any further postponement. The Governments of Mizoram and Pondicherry endorse this view. The Government of Karnataka states that it certainly does affect the functioning and morale of the police adversely who are investigating cases.

To ensure that third degree methods are not employed during investigation of crimes, it is absolutely necessary that certain safeguards are provided to prevent such torture or custodial death of accused persons. Punishing guilty police officers does not, however, in any way be construed as weakening the morales of the investigating officer. An investigating officer should know his limitations and he should not have unbridled power which can be detrimental to the interests of the citizens.

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