IN THE wake of the caste violence in Saharanpur and the recent lynchings in Jharkhand, the Centre has issued a strongly-worded advisory to all states and union territories “to give more focussed attention to the administration of the criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime.”
While the letter, dated May 23 and signed by Dilip Kumar, Joint Secretary, Union Home Ministry, does not make any direct reference to the incidents in Uttar Pradesh or Jharkhand, it draws attention to the Law Commission’s 154th report, saying that “justice delayed is justice denied” and “time-bound completion of investigation is essential to ensure the delivery of speedy justice.”
“While states have put in place organisation such as Crime Bureau and Crime Investigation Department… Since local police is entrusted with the critical function of ensuring law and order, entrusting such responsibilities to them not only slows down the investigation process but may impact the quality of investigation as well as maintenance of law and order,” says the letter.
This — separating investigation from law and order — was one of the suggestions made at the DG/IG conference in Hyderabad last year.
Listing some “immediate steps”, the Home Ministry has asked states to “establish investigation cells in all districts, to be headed by a Superintendent of Police (SP) rank officer.”
Stating that the Centre “attaches highest importance to prevention of crime”, the Home Ministry has directed states “to entrust all new cases to the investigation cell while investigations already underway may continue to be dealt with as per the existing system. An investigation monitoring cell may be established at state/ UT headquarter level to supervise and guide the local investigation teams. This cell may be headed by an ADG rank officer.”
Acknowledging an increase in the number of FIRs registered, the Home Ministry has said that “people are more aware about their rights and believe in reporting the crime”.
“Data also indicates that there is a backlog of cases taken up for investigation and, over the period, there is a declining trend in cases in which chargesheets are submitted as compared to total cases in which investigations have been completed by the police,” says the letter, adding that the progress made by states and UTs will be reviewed during the annual DG-level conference.