“Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”
“OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE” - The three glittering phrases of the World’s largest democracy – INDIA, the land of equality, trust, patience, peace and prosperity. However, of late our nation is witnessing the brutality and atrocity of a sizeable number of Police Officers time and again. The latter are engaged in various unscrupulous activities which has shaken the foundation of trust and faith imposed on them by the society. “Custodial Rape by Police,” “Fake Encounters,” “Lock-up Suicides,” etc are a testimony to extreme violation of human rights in the present scenario. Consequently, the home department has coughed off a good amount of compensation due to the above.
In the case of Khatri Vs. State of Bihar AIR 1981 SC928, also known as Bhagalpur blinding case, shocked everybody with the barbaric behaviour of the Police officers. This case depicts the extent to which police can stoop down in committing atrocities on persons under its security. The Honourable Supreme Court considered the question of granting compensation to the victims and answered it in affirmative saying if it were not so, Article 21 of The Indian Constitution would be reduced to a nullity, ‘a mere of rope of sand.’
The recent reports of the National Human Rights Commission indicate the alarming rate of increase in such untoward behaviour in the last couple of years. The home department was asked by Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) to pay a compensation/relief to the tune of Rs.36 lakhs to victims of alleged police atrocity in different districts in 2012-13 (Source: OHRC Reports). Similarly, The Bihar Human Rights Commission (BHRC) directed its State Home Department to pay Rs.25000 compensation to the owner of a puncture repair shop, who was illegally confined and assaulted by a Station House Officer (SHO) for demanding repair charges.
In the case of “Nilabati Behera Vs. State of Odisha (1993) 2 SCC 746” the accused Suman Behera was taken in custody in 1.12.1987 at 8a.m. He was found dead the next day on the railway track near police outpost, Jeraikela without being released from the custody. His death was unnatural and was caused by multiple injuries sustained by him. The State of Odisha was held liable to pay compensation to the appellant. This incident reminds me of the last sentence of the quotation given by Obiora Embry- “Who's here to protect us from the cops when they decide to use excessive force, shoot multiple shells, and/or murder us?”
It is very unfortunate that the Police Officers are looked upon with fear, suspicion and distrust by people. On the contrary, it is also fortunate that there exist some honest officers in the department having the highest standards of professional responsibility and conduct. However, rare in number!!! Time to think!!!
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