MISUTILISATION OF POLICE DISCRETION

The word discretion means having the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation, it is to act according to one’s authority and judgment and not taking anyone’s order regarding that situation.

Even though the discretion is denied but the police undeniably exercise it. And by doing this the consequences of the actions are becoming worse. As the pandemic of Covid-19 broke out, the rise in misutlisation of police’s discretion and the police brutality can be seen quite evidently not only in India but also throughout the world.


Cases which indicate Police Brutality


-Jayraj-Fenix Case

The death of a father and son due to ‘alleged custodial torture in Sathankulam town near Thoothukudi’ in Tamil Nadu.

P Jeyaraj, who was 62 years, worked at his mobile shop at Sathankulam town, was taken in custody on June 19 evening. Jeyaraj had made some critical remarks about a police patrol team on June 18 for insisting shop owners to shut shops early for lockdown rules. An auto driver had informed police about such remarks and the police team had come the next day to take him in custody. After an agitated police team had taken Jeyaraj in custody, his son, J Fenix, who was of 32 years, followed the police team to the station. At the Sathankulam police station, a senior police officer said, Fenix saw his father being physically harassed by an officer. An agitated Fenix questioned the officer, tried to stop the officer, or pushed him to protect his father in his 60s. “It had provoked the police team, they thrashed both father and son for hours. There were two sub-inspectors and two constables in the torture team. A total of 13 officers were there at the station during the incident, including volunteers part of friends of Police,” the on the alleged lockdown violation charge on Jeyaraj was something that would have got him a maximum of three months’ imprisonment if he was found guilty.

On June 20. Jeyaraj’s family who waited outside the station till midnight got to see the father and son in the morning in “bad shape.” They were taken to the Sathankulam government hospital. Jeyaraj’s veshti and Fenix’s pants were fully soaked in blood. After three hours at the hospital, they were then taken to Sathankulam magistrate court. Both were sent on remand to Kovilpatti Sub Jail in a few moments. The family had no news about the father and son till June 22 evening, when they were shifted to the nearby government hospital. Due to continuous bleeding and severe external and internal injuries from alleged lock up torture, Bennix died late evening on June 22, and Jeyaraj died on June 23, 2020.

The officers who were accused of the deaths were initially transferred and, as the matter became more serious, they were suspended. As the CCTV footage was this incident had taken place had been erased so the court ordered local revenue officials in charge of the Sathankulam police station to preserve evidence and prevent any further tampering.

Based on a report by the local magistrate who is investigating the deaths, the high court first said there was a "prima facie" case of murder against the main accused. Hours later, the five policemen were arrested.

-A tribal girl was raped by a police inspector in Odisha

A 13-year-old tribal girl from Sundargarh District decided to go visit a fair which was to be held in Biramitrapur on March 25th. Due to sudden lockdown which was announced the fair got canceled and the little girl was left stranded in the area, wanting to go home but did not have the means to go back. She was roaming around the bus stop trying to find transport to go back home, she was spotted by a patrolling police vehicle. She was taken to the Biramitrapur Police Station by the patrolling cops, that is the place where you can think that the girl would have been safe. But sadly in that same place she was raped by the very Inspector in charge of the Police Station ‘Anand Chandra Majhi’. The 13-year-old girl was lost and scared and was taken to the safety of a Police Station and was raped by the Cop in Charge how worse can it get. The next day she was dropped back by the Cops. But this case did not end here, since that day she was repeatedly summoned to the Police Station and raped again and again by these so called men in Khakis who proclaim that they are ‘the protectors of law’. The girl got pregnant and then the Cop along with her stepfather conducted Abortion at a local community clinic.

A child protection officer got to know about this crime and filed a complaint against the Police Officer, the Doctor who performed the Surgery, the stepfather of the girl and two others.

The Inspector in charge was suspended and the inquiry was pending for some days and then finally on 1st of July 2020 Crime Branch traced and arrested Anand Chandra Majhi. He would now be produced before Judicial Court.


-Cops stab man on forehead with key for not wearing helmet in Uttarakhand

Another case of alleged police brutality, a young man was allegedly stabbed on the forehead with a bike key by policemen in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand.

The incident took place on 27th July around evening in Rudrapur area when the man along with his friend was riding a motorbike. The victim was stopped by the policemen for not wearing helmet.

However, an argument broke out and a cop took the key out of the motorbike and stabbed the man with it on the forehead. The three cops were present on the spot for vehicle checking when the incident happened. The victim has been admitted to a hospital with severe injuries. The three accused cops, attached with City Patrol Unit of Uttarakhand Police, were suspended. Senior police officials have ordered a probe into the incident.


Conclusion

Not all Police Officers perform these kinds of activities but due to the very few of the Police Officers, the belief of the public that the police will protect us from any kind of mishaps gets tampered. The general public fears to go to the police and file any kind of complaint as a notion gets created that police officers can’t protect them as they commit the crimes which they have pledged that they are going to protect the individuals who are suffering from it. So the discretion of doing actions which are provided to the officials by their higher authority should not be manhandled by doing things which all together creates a different notion in the public’s mind. But they should use that kind of power to render justice to the aggrieved. The police officer should not be given the right to attack any individual for any kind of crime that person has committed but they should be ordered that the person committing the crime should be straight away put in Lockup. If the case requires that they can’t control the person without using violence, then only the authority of using violence should be given. Or else the use of violence should be banned. A proper example should be set implying the repercussion if any police officer commits violence which is not required or any kind of heinous crime which should not be done. The example should be of such kind that no other police officer would ever think of taking the laws in his/her own hands and this should be done within a short period of time and delay should not be done or else the impact would be diluted.

© The People Bookmark | 2020

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