Friday, December 24, 2004

Citizens’ woe: Cop-ing with complaints

Citizens’ woe: Cop-ing with complaints
The police refuse to file complaints and even fudge FIRs to suit their needs.What does the citizen do, Bansy Kalappa asks DG&IGP S.N. Borkar.
The Times of India

What does one do if police station staff do not accept complaints in cases of cognisable offences?
A: In such a case, the best recourse is to inform the jurisdictional ACP or DSP. If that does not work, one can contact the IGP (grievances) for the entire state on 22213431. Besides, there is a DSP in every district to deal with grievances. The city police take inspector grievances on 22943382 (number constantly busy when tried). Policemen cannot refuse to register complaints even if the crimes do not fall in their jurisdiction. One can also complain to the Lok Ayukta on 22257013.

What happens to officers who refuse to accept complaints?
Such officers are guilty of ‘burking’. It is misconduct on the part of the officer and action can be initiated. A number of officers have been suspended in the past for this.

It appears that the real number of offences are over five times higher than police statistics.
We do not pay much attention to statistics and the total number of offences.

Can’t complaints be filed on email or over telephone or by way of drop boxes?
There are legal issues involved here. But we are working out a system to accept complaints on email or telephone. An officer of the rank of ADGP is working out a proposal to legally accept complaints on telephone or e-mail as part of the e-governance initiative.
So a complainant does not have to go to the police station. We have had meetings with the chief secretary to put the system in place. We will need financial backing from the government and the chief secretary has promised funds.

In the DOCK

Name: Sushil Narahari Borkar
Date of birth: 31-05-1945
Designation: DG&IGP
Address: DGP and IGP residence, Nrupatunga Road, Bangalore - 560001

S.N. Borkar was an Army officer for seven years before he joined the police service as ASP at Ulsoor Gate police station in Bangalore in 1974. He is an all-rounder: he served as head of the district police forces in Mandya, Kodagu and Hassan, then had a stint with specialist crime fighting as DCP (Crime) in Bangalore in the 80s, and later as DIG in the forest cell.

For a few years, Borkar left mainstream policing and served as director, youth services, and security and vigilance chief of KSRTC. As IGP, Lok Ayukta, he served the anti-corruption drive, besides a stint as ADGP, Railways, and head of Civil Rights Enforcement. He was then shifted to head the prisons department. Just before taking over as DGP and IGP, he played chief to the Corps of Detectives.


M.D. Singh, director , Lok Ayukta, and former DG&IGP

The DGP’s response is positive. Accepting complaints on e-mail and telephone can indeed be done. But it has to be implemented and the result seen.

The key is to ensure how complaints on telephone and e-mail can be made legally acceptable. I have my doubts about the legality of such FIRs because they have to be signed by the complainant. Otherwise, they lose its evidentiary value.

But then, the law allows for the police to go to the complainant. Such as when a murder takes place and the police rush to the spot when informed over phone. They examine the crime and take up the case themselves (suo motu) if no one comes forward to lodge a complaint.
The police can also legally file an FIR by going in search of a complainant if a complaint is filed over telephone or e-mail.

More complaints will not hurt anybody.


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