Report No. 239
9. Need for ear-marked Police personnel for Court duties:
9.1 The most conspicuous reason for the delays in the progress of trial is non-execution of warrants by the Police. Unserved summons and non-bailable warrants (NBWs) have a telling effect on the Criminal Justice scenario. Police inaction, indifference or inability are the contributory factor to the grim situation of pendency of large number of unexecuted NBWs. The cases get adjourned from time to time because of non-appearance of one or some of the accused. Police plead their inability to apprehend the accused (against whom NBWs and Proclamation orders have been issued) for good and bad reasons.
The fact remains that Police do not consider it as a priority item and they act in a casual and routine manner. Even the prominent accused (holding a public position or leading a political party) are shown as absconding or not available for contact, as demonstrated by the case on hand. There is only one Police Constable attached to each Criminal Court and some times that single Constable attends to the work of two courts. He acts as a post office to carry the summons/warrants to the Police Station and leave it to the SHO to act on it.
There are innumerable instances in which the Police Officer concerned does not even send up a report to the Court as to the stage of NBW and the specific reason for non-apprehension of the accused. In the State of Jharkhand, the feedback is that warrants remain unexecuted for months and years as the Police personnel are not available for attending to this work, inasmuch as they are deployed on duty in remote and sensitive areas to cope up with the extremist menace etc.
9.2 In almost all the States, periodical meetings of District Judge with SSP/SP take place and in such meetings, the pendency of unexecuted NBWs and the progress made since the last meeting, are reviewed. So also, when the Administrative/Portfolio Judges go on visits to the concerned districts, the Supdts. of Police are instructed to expedite the execution of warrants. Such meetings convened by the District Judge and the instructions of the High Court Judge during his/her occasional visits do yield some results. Still, the problem substantially remains.
The responses of the Police Officers are, by and large, ad hoc. Whenever there is pressure from the side of the judiciary, a special squad will be set up to apprehend the accused, but the tempo subsides after some time. In the State of U.P., it appears that there is a Summons Cell of Police in every district which is assigned the work of executing the summons/warrants. But, either the force attached to that Cell is inadequate or their services are diverted quite often to other jobs. Needless to state that the execution of warrants needs constant attention and surveillance.
The Police plead genuine difficulties to devote the required attention for this item of work. It is a well known fact that Police Stations are understaffed and ill- equipped. Having regard to these problems and keeping in view the inputs received from the District Judges and other Judicial officers of various States, the Law Commission is of the view that dedicated Police personnel should be put in place to attend exclusively to Court-related duties viz ., service of summons and execution of warrants.
The number of personnel required for each Court may be in the range of 2 to 4. Such police personnel should work under the supervision of an Inspector of Police (exclusively deployed for this purpose) and the Inspector should report to the District Judge every month. They must be imparted training for atleast 4 weeks and should be provided with necessary infrastructure. SP level officer should monitor the work of this Police force attending to court-related duties.
Such senior Police Officer should be nominated for a region or a group of districts. Posting of such senior Police Officer shall be in consultation with the Registrar-General of High Court. Alternatively, each police station should have sufficient number of Head Constables and Constables exclusively deployed for Court-related duties. They should have sufficient infrastructure such as additional accommodation with a lock-up cell. The SHO should send monthly or bi-monthly reports to the concerned courts stating details of progress made.
9.3 There was a suggestion from some quarters that armed reserve Police who do not have much of work may be drafted for these duties till a regular cadre is constituted. This can be examined. However, the regular Police shall not shed their responsibility of extending necessary cooperation to the special Police personnel.
9.4 Before giving any direction in this regard, it is perhaps necessary that the State Governments shall be put on notice and their views, if any, are ascertained. Thereafter, the DGPs should be directed to initiate action in this behalf without delay.
9.5 There is one more aspect related to the same problem which needs to be tackled particularly. There are consistent reports that the execution of warrants against the accused, residing or staying in other States, has become a formidable problem. For years together, the warrants remain unexecuted and the out-of-State accused remain absent. The requisitions sent by the CJM or the Sessions Judge to the Police Officer and/or the CJMs of other States evoke no response from the police and Judicial officers of other States.
In a few cases, the Police personnel of the State in which the case is pending, are sent to the other State to trace and arrest the accused. Even then, they can effect the arrest of the wanted person only with the cooperation of the Police of the other State. Quite often, even that cooperation will not be forthcoming.
The Law Commission is of the view that the concerned SSP/SP of the other State should be made responsible for complying with the requisition sent by the Court in which the case is pending and it shall be made mandatory to send reports on the steps being taken by the Police at least once in a month to the Court which has issued the warrant. The communication should be sent electronically or by fax.
The Court concerned shall be required to furnish the fax and e-mail particulars. The District Judges of other States during their conferences with senior Police Officers, should review the steps taken to execute NBWs issued by the Courts of Magistrates/Sessions Judges of the State in which the case is being dealt with. The District Judges should maintain a record of such requisitions received on the basis of the information furnished by CJMs/Magistrates.