Nation Current Affairs 28 Jun 2018 India woefully short ...

India woefully short of police

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | COREENA SUARES
Published Jun 28, 2018, 12:55 am IST
Updated Jun 28, 2018, 12:55 am IST
City better placed at 500:1, but justice system is shortstaffed.
Where there should be one police officer for every 547 Indians, the number stands at 720:1.
 Where there should be one police officer for every 547 Indians, the number stands at 720:1.

Hyderabad: Greater Hyderabad is relatively better placed with regard to the number of police personnel. For a population of 1.15 crore, there are 23,000 police personnel, minus those posted to other duties, in 200 stations in three commissionerates. This comes to about 500:1.

This is far better than the ideal average of one police officer for every 547 citizens. Nationwide, India has 17.2 million cops for its citizens, against the requirement of 22.6 million, according to data provided by the Union home ministry.

 

Where there should be one police officer for every 547 Indians, the number stands at 720:1. But the overall figures hide some imbalances. Hyderabad has three police stations for women. There is one police station covering a 20-30 km radius. Experts fault the fewer number of police personnel and the short-staffed judiciar for increasing crime and delayed justice.

When a victim files a complaint, it is the police who fight on her behalf, but victims of rape, molestation, domestic violence, dowry harassment, physical and verbal abuse, human trafficking and forced prostitution have to endure an poorly funded, under-resourced and insensitive criminal justice system which has failed both to care for them medically and to deliver justice.

 

In March 2018, a 17-year-old Intermediate student committed suicide by consuming a heavy dose of tablets. The girl was raped by her former senior in college in the same month, following which police booked the 21-year-old from Madhapur. It was found that the girl was depressed over the incident, felt humiliated at being questioned about it and was unable to face people and case proceedings, and so killed herself.

In certain cases a counter case is filed against the women complainant. For example, in the case of paan shop owner Upendra Varma, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a techie after promising to marry her, a complaint was lodged against the victim. A case under IPC Sections 448 (trespass), 385 (installing fear) and 506 (criminal intimidation) have been booked against the woman. The victim would have to fight this case independently.

 

Senior advocate G.K. Krishna, who has dealt with over 300 cases of offences against women, said, “The cases of domestic violence, generally investigated by an officer of sub-inspector rank, are given least priority and unless senior police officers are alerted about the lapses, the investigation does not go further.

Despite the gravity of the cases, the investigators delay in registering FIRs and illegally detain the complainants, especially women.” It takes courage for a woman to approach the police and the challenges are numerous. The attitude of the police is often hostile and unsympathetic, forensic examination is not done sensitively, there is no counselling, and the police investigation is shoddy and prosecution in the courts weak. In 2017, a woman software engineer who went to the Madhapur police station to lodge a complaint against her husband who was harassing and abusing her physically was herself detained at the police station as if she was the accused.

 

Ms A. Sunitha, project coordinator for Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, investigated the responses of women police stations, family counselling centres and family courts to the women facing domestic violence.

An important finding of the project was that public institutions, especially law, figure only in a minor way in the lives of women dealing with issues of violence. Secondly, the problems of access are much more for women due to barriers of caste, class, education, ‘connections’. Apart from the biases of the personnel, women find it difficult to keep up with the schedules, mandates and requirements of institutions.

 

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Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad




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