The killing of George Floyd due to Police Misconduct has sparked debates around the world. Police misconduct in India has also shown its ugly face over the past years. Some recent cases have brought police misconduct under new scrutiny across nations including India. We’ve seen various protests this year involving Police Misconduct. The following are some that especially stand out:
- Violence by Police against people protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act
- COVID 19 Lockdown Related Police Misconduct Cases
A new case of custodial death and torture has come to light recently in Tamil Nadu. The death of a father and son due to custodial death and torture in Tamil Nadu has sparked rage across the state. Indians are now calling for Police Reform.
What is Police Misconduct?
Police misconduct refers to illegal, unethical, or inappropriate actions by police officers on duty. It also includes violations of individuals’ constitutional rights.
Types of Police Misconduct
The various types of misconduct include:
- Coercing an Individual in Custody to make a false confession
- Intimidating an Individual in Custody
- False Arrest
- False Imprisonment
- Falsification of Evidence
- Tampering or Spoliation of Evidence
- Police Perjury
- Police Corruption
- Racial Profiling
- Unwarranted surveillance, searches, and seizure of property
- Police Brutality
- Sexual Misconduct
- Custodial Death
Police Misconduct in India
We’ve all seen live footage of people on the streets in the US. We’ve seen them protesting in solidarity against police brutality. The Black Lives Matter Movement is all over the news. Americans are outrightly asking for Police Reform. People witnessed scary-looking Policemen fighting back in full riot gear. The President of the US as commander in chief called in the National Guard at Minneapolis to quell the rioting. But while thousands of people protest against police misconduct in the US, similar issues barely create a ripple in India.
This happens because Indians tend to agree with the police and their initiatives. People often consider pursuing grievances against the police as futile. Many are still unaware and unclear on their constitutional rights. A clear violation of the constitutional rights of the father-son duo is proof of this. Unfortunately, police misconduct and institutionalized brutality has become a way of life in India. But with the rise in the number of deaths in Police Custody is a wakeup call for all Indians.
Police Brutality Cases in India
22 June 2020- Custodial death of Father and Son in Tamil Nadu
The Father and Son duo were reportedly beaten, brutally tortured, and sexually harassed by the Tamil Nadu Police.
27 June 2020- 19-Year-Old Boy Lathi-Charged died of Heart Attack
A 19-Year-old boy, Sagar Chalavadi was a heart patient. He was lathi-charged outside an SSLC examination center in Karnataka. He died of a heart attack. The family, however, claims that the Police assaulted him.
2020– Migrant Workers Lathi-Charged and Beaten by Gujarat Police
The Gujarat Police beat up many Migrant People. After the lockdown was announced, they wanted to go back home. They were facing unemployment and could not fend for themselves here.
2019- Citizenship Amendment Act Protest- The Jamia Milia Islamia Attack
The attack happened in 2019 at Jamia Milia Islamia. This was around the time of the CAA protests. The police attacked student protesters as well as non-protesting students at the campus of the University.
Know Your Rights to Fight Against Police Misconduct
To fight against Police misconduct the first step would be to KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. An arrested citizen must know the rights that fall under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Section 41 of CrPC
It states that there can be no legal arrest if there is no information or reasonable suspicion that the person has been involved in a cognizable offence or commits an offence (s)
Section 46 of CrPC
It states the mode of the arrest. Only a female officer can arrest a female arrestee. Further, a woman cannot be arrested after 6 pm and before 6 am, except in exceptional circumstances.
Section 49 of CrPC
It states that there should be no more restraint than is justly necessary to prevent escape.
Section 50(1) CrPC
It highlights that the individual arrested by a police officer has the legal right to know the grounds of the arrest.
Section 50(2) CrPC
It states that any person arrested without a warrant must be immediately informed of the grounds of his arrest. Further, the police must inform him/her regarding the right to bail.
Section 51 of CrPC
This section allows a police officer to search the arrested persons. With regard to this, Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India guarantees the accused against self-incriminating testimonial compulsion.
Section 54 of CrPC
It states compulsory medical examination by a medical officer of an arrested person. Only a female medical officer is allowed to examine a female arrestee.
Section 57 of CrPC
The police cannot detain a person for more than 24 hours. A competent magistrate must evaluate the case of the accused individual with the least delay.
Art 22(1) of the Constitution of India
An arrested person shall have the right to consult and to be defended by a counsel of his choice. Further, the police must inform the accused of the legal aid facilities available.
Recourse Against Police Misconduct
Keeping in mind, the above laws one can expect to receive compensation if there is sufficient proof. One can even seek relief before the National and the State Human Rights Commissions. It is set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. An aggrieved party may file a Criminal Complaint against the concerned police officers under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Lastly, an individual can also expect the police officer to receive punishment or be called in for a disciplinary meeting to discuss their errant ways. Further, the review board may suspend, remove, or deduct the salary of the concerned officer depending on their misconduct. The laws regarding this are provided under respective state enactments.
The police are here to maintain peace and order in our society. Their job is to prevent and detect crime. While there are still good cops out there, we can’t ignore the errant ones. Chaos almost always follows when the public loses confidence in its Police force. What happened in the US is proof of that. The law must hold an errant police officer accountable for his/her misconduct. Therefore, as an individual t is important to be aware of your legal rights. Only then can you can hope for police reform.