Updated: January 10, 2020 7:36:27 am
In a country like India, access to the criminal justice system is often determined by how much money, power, and influence the complainant has, suggests the latest crime data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Who the complainant is able to approach to register her complaint, therefore, becomes important.
According to the 2018 report, a person has the best chance of getting a complaint registered as an FIR if she is able to go to the police station with an order from a court. Ninety-nine per cent of complaints that are routed through a court are registered as FIRs, the data show. As many as 1,09,392 of the 1,10,338 complaints that were forwarded by courts to police were registered as FIRs in 2018.
According to the data, a written complaint sent to the officer in charge of a police station has a 72% chances of being converted into an FIR. In 2018, of the 37,46,600 complaints sent to SHOs, 2,68,8182 were converted into FIRs.
A written complaint has a better chance of being registered than a verbal complaint, in which the duty officer takes down details. The data show that 53% of written complaints were registered, while only 5% of oral complaints saw legal action by police. Complaints made through Dial 100 had only a 1% success rate.
Complaints filed online, a new initiative by police in some states such as Delhi and UP, too have a very slim chance. In 2018, only 3% of complaints filed online were converted to FIRs.
“While it is true that people with influence and contacts have better chances of getting their complaints registered, many complaints are not converted into FIRs because they are either not worth investigating or are found patently false on verification. But burking is a problem across all police forces. Often the uneducated and unlettered are unable to get their complaints registered,” a senior police officer from UP said.
The data also show how toothless central commissions are in dealing with complaints of human rights abuses and atrocities on women, children, and Dalits.
According to the data, only 4% of complaints sent to the National Human Rights Commission or State Human Rights Commissions ended up being converted into FIRs. Of the 24,343 complaints lodged with the NHRC in 2018 only 1,002 were converted into FIRs.
The Commissions for Scheduled Castes (both in the states and at the Centre) fare no better. Only 7% of complaints registered with them were converted into FIRs. Of the 5,766 complaints received by them, only 413 became FIRs. For the Commissions for Scheduled Tribes, the number was worse — only 5%. In 2018, a total 880 complaints were received by these Commissions, but only 48 were converted into FIRs.
Only 5% of complaints received by National and State Commissions for Women were converted into FIRs in 2018. Children Welfare Boards/Commission had a success rate of 20%.
In contrast, complaints of which police took suo motu cognizance had a success rate of 80%. Overall, complaints sent to police through various sources had a success rate (of turning into an FIR) of just 26%.
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