On Monday, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released the much delayed crime data for 2017. While it was without some crucial data categories, the data included were more fleshed out than in the 2016 crime report. The NCRB has introduced more than three dozen new categories and sub-categories of crimes under various heads.
The report omits data on mob lynchings, khap killings, murder by influential people and killings for religious reasons.
Data on farmer suicides after 2015 are yet to be published although, sources said, the fully compiled data had been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs 20 months ago.
NCRB crime report data: New categories, broadly
At least four categories where significant diversification of data can be seen are crimes against women and children, atrocities against Dalits, cases of corruption, and time taken by police and courts to take cases to their conclusion. For the first time, the NCRB has introduced categories of cyber crimes against women and children.
In the case of Dalits, the NCRB has for the first time published data on offences registered solely under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act with further categorisation of insult, land grab and social ostracism.
The NCRB has also recorded cases of disproportionate assets against public servants besides introducing new crime heads such as abetment, criminal intimidation, simple hurt, credit/debit card and online frauds, Internet crimes through online gaming and kidnapping for begging among others.
More importantly, for the first time, the NCRB has not merely dwelt on pendency of cases with the police and courts but also the period of such pendency, which has thrown up some rather counter-intuitive data.
Women and children
In the case of women and children, the NCRB has this time recorded data for “murder with rape”. In 2017, as many as 33,885 women were reported to have been raped across the country. Of these, 227 were murdered after the rape. As many as 28,152 children were raped with cases registered under IPC and the POCSO Act. Of these, 151 were killed after being raped.
The NCRB has, however, removed the category of gangrape that was introduced to the NCRB database following the December 2012 gangrape case.
In the category of cyber crimes against women, the NCRB has recorded 4,242 offences where women were either stalked, blackmailed or their morphed pictures were uploaded on the internet.
In a sub-category for SLL (special and local laws) cyber crimes against women, the number of women-centric crimes is given as 600, of which 271 relate to publishing or transmitting of sexually explicit material under the Information Technology Act.
The report has also introduced the categories of sexual harassment at the workplace and in public transport. As many as 479 and 599 cases were reported in 2017 under these categories respectively.
Also, 33,606 cases were registered and 40,420 juveniles apprehended during the year. “Majority of juveniles in conflict with law apprehended under IPC and SLL crimes were in the age group of 16 years to 18 years. These cases accounted for 29,194 out of 40,420, totalling 72.2 per cent cases during 2017,” the NCRB said.
While the NCRB has always collected data on pendency of cases with police and in courts, this was largely about the number of such cases. In the latest report, the NCRB has also recorded the period of pendency.
The data show police delayed chargesheets in 40% of cases. For IPC crimes, police are supposed to file a chargesheet within 90 days. But data show that in certain cases such as rioting, which includes communal riots, police delayed filing of chargesheets in 60% of the cases. It says there are more than 3 lakh cases pending investigations for more than one year.
The report says in more than 40% of cases with fast-track courts, these courts have taken more than three years to finish the trial. In fact, in as many as 3,384 cases committed to fast-track courts, the trial was finished in more than 10 years.
Of the 38,000-odd cases that fast-track courts completed in 2017, over 4,500 cases had been running for 5-10 years. In only around 11,500 cases was the trial completed within one year.
In courts as a whole, 2,71,779 cases were pending trial at the end of 2017.
Under the category of rioting, new subcategories have been added which include vigilante action, disputes over water, power and property and rioting during morchas.
Some other new data include spreading of fake news where 257 offences have been recorded. As many as 952 election-related offences were also recorded in 2017 apart from offences relating to religion (1,808) and Obscene Acts and Songs at Public Places (29,557).