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Monday, April 19, 2021

Bihar ADGP pulls up state police for ‘poor’ probe into SC/ST Act cases

Cautioning police officers against disobedience of order, the ADGP reminded them of existing penal provisions, which range from jail term from six months to two years.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
March 26, 2021 2:33:58 pm
Overall, Bihar has registered 12,224 cases under the SC/ST Act till December. (File photo)

Bihar Additional Director General of Police, Criminal Investigation Department (weaker sections), Anil Kishore Yadav, has pulled up state police for “very poor” investigation into cases lodged under provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Cautioning police officers against disobedience of order, the ADGP reminded them of existing penal provisions, which range from jail term from six months to two years.

He also expressed dissatisfaction with the role of the state home department in monitoring the progress in cases, saying only “khanapurti” — (work for appearances’ sake) — was happening.

In a circular issued on March 17, the ADGP stated, “Review and assessment of SC/ST Act cases of last one year showed that the police submitted its final report in 23 per cent cases. Only in 19 per cent of chargesheeted matters, police have ensured arrest and surrender of the accused or confiscated their property. In 81 per cent cases, the police seem to have done their duties just by issuing notices under CrPC 41A.”

He said that in most cases, police wrongly used the CrPC provision of Section 41A by just issuing a notice to the accused and not trying to arrest the accused, otherwise booked under non-bailable sections.

Section 41A, said the ADGP, cannot be used in SC/ST Act cases as the section says that a police officer, where arrest of a person is not required, can issue a notice to the accused to appear before him or at such other place as may be specified.

The circular, outlining the standard operating procedure, is meant for Inspector Generals, Deputy Inspector Generals of police and Senior Superintendents and Superintendents of police.

The circular added, “No sense of urgency is being shown (by the police) to submit chargesheet within stipulated 60 days and state DGP’s 26 May 2014 order to immediately record statement of the accused and witnesses are not being followed… Several public prosecutors said that final submission reports are presented (in courts) in several cases despite police having evidence.”

The special public prosecutors have also revealed “there has been undue pressure on the complainants to compromise with the accused because of attitude of the police and complainants’ morale is also hurt”, the circular said. It added that “under these circumstances, submitting chargesheet within stipulated 60 days in the SC/ST Act looks a daydream”.

The circular also expresses disappointment at the role of the state home department. “After the September 4, 2019 meeting of the home department, there has been only “khanapurti” in terms of implementation of instructions regarding expediting investigation into SC/ST Act cases.

The circular added it was under such conditions that human rights organisations and the Supreme Court would make strong observations.

On being asked about the circular, Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) and Bihar Police spokesperson Jitendra Kumar said, “Letter is detailed and self explanatory. Needs no further elaboration.”

Overall, Bihar has registered 12,224 cases under the SC/ST Act till December. As of December 2020, chargesheet has been filed in 7,242 cases and a final submission report has been filed in 1,360 cases. A total of 8,602 cases have been disposed of and 3,622 cases are pending. Till December 2020, there are 14 districts in which over 100 cases are pending. Between 2015 and 2020, a total of 436 murder, 330 rape cases were lodged under SC/ST Act.

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