Millennium Post

Equipped cops needed for efficient and independent probes: SC

"We want efficient investigation by trained police officers in serious offences like murder and rape and they should be able to conduct investigation independently without any kind of pressure," a bench headed by Justice TS Thakur said.

The court also allowed senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in hearing of the PIL on police reforms in country, to file compilation of data along with detailed note on the issue within six weeks. The Centre will have to respond within three weeks thereafter. During the hearing, the bench on Thursday also posed queries on police reforms to senior Punjab cadre IPS officer Rajan Gupta, who heads the BPR&D that was set up in 1970 to suggest measures to the government to modernise police forces.

The BPR&D Chief, in response to a query, said separate caderisation of police force to handle law and order and investigation of serious offences was not possible as it would create problems relating to promotions. Moreover, sometimes the investigation of an offence cannot be entirely separated from the law and order issue, he said, adding that budget constraints have led to lack of adequate manpower in police stations.

"Tell us whether the quality of investigation, which should be scientific, impartial and free from political interference, can be done by a Sub Inspector (SI), who has just become a SI from 'havaldar'. How far a SI is equipped to deal with the scientific probe.

"The Model Police Act (2006) is actually the same wine in new bottle. Will it make any difference," the bench, also comprising justices R K Agrawal and Adarsh Kumar Goel, said. Moreover, a policeman, over a period of time, develops skill and the investigation of offense is also related to the law and order and the real problem is the lack of man power in police stations, Gupta said. "The problem of manpower is a universal problem.

In district courts, there is one PP (public prosecutor) for four courts and judges wait for the PP for recording of statements and cross-examination of witnesses," the bench said. On insulating policemen, the BPR&D Chief said so far as, withstanding pressures is concerned, "it varies from individual to individual" and a cop needs to be protected.
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