WHEN IT comes to filing complaints, people prefer public window at police headquarters, Sector 9, to police stations in Chandigarh, shows information procured under the RTI Act. In 2016, a total of 1,451 complaints were received at 17 police stations and 17,300 complaints were received at the public window, Sector 9. As many as 1,281 complaints were received at 17 police stations and 21,700 were received at the public window, Sector 9, in 2018. The RTI application was filed by Chandigarh Police constable Jagjeet Singh.
People who file complaints at the public window claim that they face several problems when they go to police stations. These problems range from no quick receipt of complaints to no official acknowledgement about the receipt of complaints, no tracking system of complaints and non-cooperative behaviour of cops sitting on the police desk.
The concept of public window was introduced in 1996 by the then IGP, R P Singh. The aim was to give an opportunity to everyone to file his/her grievances with the police department. Later, a complaint tracking system was introduced as well.
Rajesh Sharma, who along with nine others was cheated by a Delhi man of Rs 8 lakh, said, “We were 10 people who were cheated by a Delhi man in Sector 22 in September 2018. We approached the local police station but our complaint was not entertained. As we moved a complaint at public window, we received the response within four days. Although the man was arrested after the probe which continued for one month, it proved public window is more effective than the police station. As we filed the complaint at the public window, our complaint reached the police station from the office of SSP, Chandigarh, which asked the area police to act on it.”
However, R K Garg, a resident of Sector 27, said, “I myself preferred to file a complaint at public window, Sector 9. But this process too has flaws. Although your complaint will be probed, it does not mean justice will be done. There is a huge logjam of complaints at public window.”
When contacted, SSP Nilambri Vijay Jagdale directed this reporter to the police spokesman, DSP Charanjit Singh. “The behaviour of cops at police station level might be one of the reasons (for people not preferring police stations) but most important thing behind the success of public window is that senior officers themselves monitor the progress of these complaints. We organise ‘know your cases’ programme every month allowing complainants to check the status of their matters at police station level.”
The number of complaints received at police stations only includes the complaints moved by civilians; it does not include the complaints in which police personnel are complainants in cases such as those related to the NDPS Act, Excise Act, the arrest of any suspects at checking nakas. The complaints received at public window do not include complaints referred to EOW.