MUMBAI, KNOWN to be a city constantly on the move, hardly has the time to stop, even if faced with a crime. According to a study on the ‘State of Policing and Law and Order in Mumbai’ released by NGO Praja Foundation on Tuesday, 21 per cent of the 22, 850 respondents whom the NGO interviewed said they did not approach the police even when faced with a crime as they “didn’t have the time for all this” followed by “I don’t want to get involved in any trouble”.
Apart from facing crime, 48 per cent of those who witnessed a crime taking place in front of them bothered to inform the police. Here too, the top specified reason for not informing the police was “not having the time for it” with 23 per cent of those interviewed citing that as a reason followed by not wanting to get involved in any trouble.
The NGO stated in the report that 33 per cent of the respondents who faced crime did not inform the police. Of the ones that did inform the police, 46 per cent were satisfied with the response they got from the police.
The report also pointed out that reporting of rape cases had increased to 390 per cent and molestation to 347 per cent from 2010-2011 to 2014-15. Conviction for rape cases was just 27 per cent as compared to the UK — from where our police-legal system stems -that has a conviction rate of 57 per cent in rape cases.
The study on movement of serious offence cases for 550 cases in the sessions court in Mumbai between January 2008 to December 2012 revealed that from the date of lodging FIR to filing charge sheet took 8.5 months, it took 2.8 months from the chargesheet to the first hearing date, 13.2 months from the first hearing to decision date and two years.
Praja initiated this interim study to understand the life cycle of a serious offense case from the time the matter is registered till the time verdict is delivered in court. Of the 550 cases sampled, there have been 423 acquittals. The study reveals that from the time of the FIR to the chargesheet, the police takes an average of seven months to register a case of rape.The average number of months to submit the chargesheet of a dacoity case is 25 months and about 11 months to file the chargesheet in any attempt to murder case.
The data which is a compilation of 550 cases between 2008-2012, also broadly shows the reasons for acquittals, ‘Failure to prove charge’ (lack of evidence or witness) at 386 is the highest cause for a case for fall. The highest number of acquittals have been been rape case and then murder cases at 116 and 82, respectively.
The report also had the list of MLAs who asked questions on issues related to crime in Winter 2014 and budget 2015 sessions. Legislator Amin Patel topped the list with 25 ‘crime related’ questions being raised in the sessions.
While Praja’s report stated that there was an 11 per cent overall shortage in the force, the Mumbai Police countered the findings. Mumbai Police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said that the shortfall was actually 1.35 per cent.
Kulkarni added that “Mumbai is a metropolitan city with a floating population and it is not unsafe. There are three things to note for the rise of crime against women, they are various sub-sections added to each section, then there is awareness and there have been a lot of technical cases.”