Convictions in crimes committed against women showed a sharp decline in 2012 as compared to the previous year,a report released by the NGO Praja Foundation on Thursday showed. The report on statistics obtained under the Right to Information Act also stated that there was a 50 per cent shortfall in the sanctioned strength and actual working strength of investigating officers in the city police.
The Mumbai Police were able to obtain convictions in only 7 per cent cases of molestation in 2012,down from 21 per cent in 2011. Also,convictions were obtained in only 5 per cent of the total number of dowry death and harassment cases tried in 2012,a marginal increase from 3 per cent in 2011. Convictions in body offences including murder,rape and kidnapping also dropped to 7 per cent in 2012 from 10 per cent in 2011,the report revealed. Between 2011-12 and 2012-13,rape cases rose by 57 per cent and those of molestation by 43 per cent,the report said.
According to the report,of the 319 dowry death cases tried in 2011,only 8 convictions were obtained and acquittals were awarded in 218 cases. Of the 357 cases tried in 2012,convictions were obtained in 13 and acquittals in 234. As of December 2012,trial has been pending in 2,402 cases.
The overall conviction rate improved to 18 per cent in 2012 from 17 per cent in 2011. Of the 1,94,588 cases that were tried in courts in 2012,judgements were delivered in 17,258 cases. The police investigated 71,425 cases in 2011 and 78,393 in 2012.
The police attributed the fall in convictions rates to witnesses backing out during trial. There are many cases where both parties reach a compromise. This hampers the course of the trial, said Assistant Commissioner of Police,Bhagwan Chate.
Praja attributes low conviction rate on the shortage in critical investigating staff. The report shows that of the sanctioned strength of 1,002 assistant police inspectors,only 732 were currently working,while only 1,319 of the sanctioned 3,125 sub-inspectors were working. Across ranks,the report found that there was a shortfall of 1,763 personnel in the Mumbai Police.
These personnel are trained in conducting investigations. With such a huge shortage,little wonder that crimes are not being solved, said Nitai Mehta,Founding Trustee,Praja Foundation.
The work load on officers keeps increasing. When one officer has to investigate a lot of cases at a time,the quality of investigation is bound to suffer, said Ambadas Pote,DCP (Crime Branch Detection).
The Local Arms units also has a shortfall of 2,087 personnel in its sanctioned 11,308 posts.
The report showed that the biggest shortage in staff was at police stations in south Mumbai,where 5,490 of the sanctioned 7,024 personnel were found to be working.