The police are a security force whose job it is to ensure that the laws are
basically enforced. The police are the primary law enforcement agency of
society, they are the people entrusted with the powers to maintain public order,
enforce the law, as well as prevent, detect and prosecute crime. Their job is to
ensure the safety of the people and preserve the dignity of the country. The
police are the first to be contacted in cases where any illegal act has been
The police are responsible for protecting the rights of every citizen. But today
this power of law enforcement, prevention and detention is abused by the
servants of the land. The abuse of power and police brutality they espouse is
one of the country's most troubling challenges. India has witnessed police
involvement in various types of corrupt practices and misconduct in recent
Now we must not get confused between the two concepts of corrupt practice and
misconduct. Corrupt practices are the actions of police officials for their
profits, but misconduct refers to the use of excessive physical force by the
police that is deadly. These misconducts generally include brutally beating
innocent people or even killing them without any order from higher police
authorities or a court order. These offences are referred to as police
Police brutality and abuse of power illustrate the failure of the system as the
police have a legal duty to protect people as well as enforce people's rights.
But here, our saviours became preppers and abused the additional power they were
given. The powers they have often been used to avoid legal consequences or moral
and legal responsibility after committing an illegal act.
There have been several reports of police brutality from different parts of the
country. Inhumane techniques have often been used to torture people in police
custody despite provisions of the Indian Penal Code prohibiting the same. Such
cases apparently do not attract much attention as they are suppressed by the
police using false accusations and false claims to defend themselves. The police
institutionalized crime in their profession while trying to control or eradicate
it from society.
Moreover, even fewer cases of these monstrous atrocities come to light due to
fear of speaking up against the police. The police use their muscle power to
silence citizens who raise their voices against them. To file a complaint with
the police, you have to go to the police, showing the dilemma and fear that the
common man faces in reporting such cases. This clearly shows how difficult it is
for the common man to get justice against his own 'protectors'.
Few kinds of abuse of power held by police are:
- Unwarranted Arrest and Unlawful Imprisonment
- Wrongful search and harassment
- Sexual harassment
- Racial discrimination
orruption is the misuse of power for one's own benefits. Corruption in one form
or the other has always existed in the society. It has lowered the moral values
of the society, and the police force cannot be an exception. Police corruption
is the abuse of police power by the police officers for their own financial
benefits, personal benefits, or even career advancements in exchange for not
selectively pursuing an investigation or an arrest.
One common form of police corruption is accepting monetary bribes in exchange
for not reporting organized drug or other illegal activities. The police
officers even willingly indulge themselves in organized crimes. India is plagued
by corruption on a widespread scale. Even though corruption is pervasive around
the world, India ranks 80th out of 198 nations in the corruption perception
index, indicating that there is still much that can be done to reduce the
various kinds of corruption that exist there.
The corruption that permeates the police force on practically every level and in
a variety of ways is not unnoticed by them. High-ranking police officials have
occasionally been exposed as engaging in corrupt practices, and lower-ranking
police officers have also been exposed as accepting bribes. There is no single
factor responsible for police corruption in India. A major cause of police
corruption is that police officers are given enormous powers for their
Police corruption today is prevalent in all situations where the police have
discretion and can exercise that discretion. One such example is prohibition law
enforcement. Power and discretion allow a police officer ample freedom to
indulge in corruption. They enjoy broad powers while performing core police
functions. Police Discretion is a double-edged sword and can be used or abused
by Law-and-Order personnel in this situation. In India, government recruitment
policies are flawed.
Pay structures, types and hours of work, housing issues, and certain
administrative and organizational problems are other factors contributing to
police corruption. According to a report, police power and quality have not kept
up with the demands of a rapidly expanding economy and government. There are
many restrictions on how effectively the police can enforce the law.
The many ambiguities in these laws, combined with the police's "do or don't"
discretion with respect to certain crimes, mean that officials have ample
opportunity to resort to corrupt practices when carrying out such actions.
Bribes for positions and promotions are a well-known phenomenon in the police
force. As a result, cops who have paid will try to get their money back as soon
as possible, and corruption becomes a tool to get a better return on their
Some Corrupt Police Officers In India
- S. Malaichamy: he was an IAS officer who was sentenced for five years in
corruption cases. His assets in 1971 suddenly grow from 46 lakh to Rs 1.3 crore.
- Nitesh Janardhan Thakur: in the service of only 12 years he had a net worth
of Rs. 200 crores. Apart from properties, he also had 10 premium vehicles. He
managed to flew outside the country before he could be arrested.
- Arvind Joshi And Tinoo Joshi: they both are couples who are currently in
jail in relation to corruption. Both were IAS, they had disproportionate assets.
- Neera Yadav: she had been arrested in various land scandals. She had been
convicted for two years by The Supreme Court in matter to corruption.
- T.O. Suraj: In a raid by Anti-Corruption Bureau in his residence Rs.20 lakh
case and property worth Rs.30 crores was recovered. According to a report he
also a flat in Dubai and many benami property.
Legal Accountability Of Police In India
In India, the police play a very vital role in the proper working of the
society. The police are a long arm of the law which has been entrusted for the
detection and prevention of crimes and disputes in the country. It is the duty
of the state to control and regulate the police. Article 246 of the Indian
Constitution enlists the Police in the State list of the 7th Schedule and hence
empowers the State Government to control and make laws for the police.
violation of human rights by the police is an alarming situation in India most
commonly the brutality of the police, illegal detention by the police and the
abuse of power. There were several steps taken to implement rules which stop the
police from abusing its power, but it failed to do so. In the case of Prakash
Singh v/s Union of India
the state government and the central government failed
to implement the directions by the Supreme Court therefore there is a huge
negligence from the governments which resulted in this abuse of power by the
In a recent case in Tamil Nadu, the country witnessed a custodial death where a
father and his son were arrested for violating Covid-19 rules. P. Jayaraj and J.
Benicks died in custody two days after their release. According to the
statements given by the family members, it was brought to knowledge that the
deceased persons were brought to a hospital wherein they were not in decent
shape and their pants were soaked in blood.
It was reported that they were
beaten up brutally in custody which resulted into heavy injury and ultimately
resulted into death. The Madras High Court, looking at the depth and the urgency
of the case directed the Kovil Patti Judicial Magistrate to inquire into the
matter and submit a report. After the reports were produced it was held that it
was a case of murder as per the injuries listed in the post-mortem report and
the eyewitnesses who is a constable of the same police station.
It was also held
in the investigation that the CCTV footage was tampered. The five police
officers who were accused of murder was arrested immediately. This incident
shook the country and raised the bar for the protection of Human Rights. Human
rights are rights which belong to each human being by birth irrespective of
their caste, class, race, sex, colour; etc.
Therefore every human being has the
right to live with these human rights without being deprived of these rights. A
police officer is a public servant and hence is expected to treat its citizens
in a lawful manner. There have been many steps taken for the issue of the abuse
of power but sadly this kind of behaviour by the public servant still prevails
in a democracy like India.
Abuse of power by the police authorities is an alarming situation in India and
needs to be corrected immediately. There have been several remedies taken in
order to stop this kind of behaviour. A Police Complain Authority was
established for the citizens to complain if they faced any problem from the
As mentioned above, the famous case Prakash Singh v/s Union of India,
the Supreme Court after looking into the matter of the misuse of power by the
police and reports from various commissions, directed to establish an authority
named the Police Complain Authority in all the states of India.
Complain Authority is authorized to investigate matters relating to any kind of
misconduct by police of, above, below the rank of Superintendent of Police
alleging rape or attempt to rape against a woman who is in custody of the
police, illegal transfer of land or house or areas where there has been a
serious abuse of authority, any kind of grievous hurt, death or the abuse of
powers assigned to a police person; etc.
Similarly, under the Protection of
Human Rights Act 1993, the National Human Rights Commission has been vested with
the power to take actions with regards to complaints lodged for infringing human
rights by any individual. The National Human Rights Commission is instructed to
take complaints with regards to in-custody violence and deaths, any illegal act
done by the police, false encounters and issues relating to women and children;
etc. and is given the power to take severe action or prosecute the police
Another way to hold the police accountable is by filing petitions in the courts
through which the court can directly interfere in the complaints filed against
the police with regards to abuse of power and accordingly punish them. The
police here can be held accountable based on public law, criminal law, or
through private tortious laws.
Firstly, when we talk about public laws it says
that if there is any infringement caused by the police to fundamental rights of
a person such as right to life and liberty, protection against illegal arrests,
unequal treatments, etc. the police can be held liable through the courts and be
punished, and a compensation is charged to the state as well for the act.
Secondly, when we talk about the criminal liability, the Code of Criminal
Procedure provides certain safeguards to police officers from litigation.
Section 179 and more precisely section 132 gives this liberty to the police.
Lastly, when we talk about the private law, a state can be held liable for
compensation if any police officer infringes a person's fundamental rights.
Extrajudicial Killing By Police
The problem also lays in the constitution, which consists of many loopholes. One
of those loopholes is extrajudicial killings by the police in the name of self-defence.
Which is commonly known as 'encounter.' There is no enigmatic provisions or
statute in Indian law that legalizes encounter killing. In various Judgements of
Supreme Court, it had limited the use of polices excesses.
According to the data
tabled in the OK Sasha o July 26th revealed that across the country, during
2020-2021, eight two people were killed in the name of encounter which increased
to 151 during 2021-2022. The police officer escapes the encounter, cases, and
inquiry in the name of self-defense. In a country where encounter is not legal,
but the police officers are known as encounter specialist. Among such officers,
some of those officers are Pradeep Sharma who had encountered 104 people, Paul
Kayak who had encountered 84 people.
Day Kayak who had encountered 80 people,
Vijay Alaska who had encountered 83 people, Şahin Wada who had encountered 63
people, Anent Dev who had encountered 60 people, Deepak Kumar who had
encountered 56 people, Rajesh Kumar Panda who had encountered 50 people,
Reindeer Singh who had encountered 50 people, Amitabh Cash who had encountered
36 people, and there are many more in the list.
Among various cases of encounter, one case which shook the country was the case
of Vikash Dubey. He was a gangster who had a criminal history of 30 years and 62
cases were registered against him which also include 5 murder cases. He first
came into limelight after he murders Santosh Shula who was a minister level
leader of BJP in Up in 2001. The second time he came into limelight in 2020 when
he with help of his supporters killed 8 police officers who came to arrest him.
After killing 8 police officers, he managed to flew to Ujjain. Later he was
arrested from Ujjain. The killing of 8 police officers was a serious issue and
the mainstream media was covering the news. The media was also following the
convoy of Police in which Vikash Dubey was transferred from Ujjain to Kanpur.
Suddenly at a particular point the media personalities convey was stopped and
after few minutes the police convey who was leading with Vikash Dubey. The car
in which Vikash Dubey was travelling with police officers met with an accident.
According to the police, Vikash Dubey somehow managed to snatch a weapon from
one of the policemen after the accident.
He then ran to a field nearby and was asked by the police officers to surrender,
which according to police he refused, and some bullets were exchanged. The
police team in self-defense killed Vikash Dubey. The encounter leads to the role
of scanner of 200 policemen. The encounter of Vikash Dubey is believed to be a
fake encounter. This act of Kanpur police is seen more as a revenge, which was
also backed by the State.
The encounter of Vikash Dubey sounded more of a Bollywood movie rather than an
original story. The tip of arrest of Vikash Dubey when the police went to arrest
him in his farmhouse was also leaked by local police officers to Vikash Dubey.
The Indian police play an important role in maintaining peace, freedom, justice,
equality and stability in society. There are no exceptions to the abuse of these
sovereign powers conferred on police officers. Its main function is to uphold
and enforce laws, laws made to protect citizens from any kind of crime, and in
case of violation, censures the wrongdoer with punishment. These powers must
work in such a way that all citizens of India feel safe in their surveillance
and are not adversely intimidated by their existence.
The invisible hands of the police should serve the interests of health, morale
and safety, not brutally venting frustration and outrage on suspects based on
preconceived notions. "Can We prevent these types of incidents in the future?"
Well, in order to prevent such incidents in the future, there must be a concept
of equality, which in the eyes of these officials must be strengthened to
prevent the brutal acts born.
For racism, religious discrimination or any other form of social stigma. The
torture behind bars must stop. In addition, the separation of powers, the
fundamental principle of the Constitution, must be recognized since the power to
punish convicts or hold the accused to account rests with the judiciary and not
with a police officer.
Few measures such as the introduction of criminal psychologists and police
counseling in each region are necessary to prevent outrageous brutality in
society. Compensation for torture and loss of family members is the last thing
the state expects and should do. However, this nowhere justifies that a human
life can be valued in money. Additionally, police accountability must be the
primary objective to ensure police officers are complying with the standards set
out in the Act.
In addition, the police officers must follow the measures and guidelines given
due to the historical judgments that they will consequently defend Dignity. Of
the police in the eyes of the citizens. The police uniform should evoke the
perception of strength and justice. This increase in deaths in custody and
torture is reappearing in the feeds, it is the right time for them not to go
unnoticed and to fight it.
If it is not removed from the roots, at least a significant reduction will be
achieved. Therefore, as a member of this society, all citizens, government,
media, judiciary, and law enforcement must come together to make this society a
safer place for to live.
- Sourav Suman. (2020). The police brutality in India, 34, 37-39 The Law
- Ravikanth B. Lamani, G.S. Vvenumadhava. (2013). Police Corruptions in
India, 2, 5-7
- Kalaskarneta. (2013-2014). Centre for law and policy research,
Accountability of police in India. 2-8
- Prakash Singh v/s Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 1.
- Vineet Narayana v/s Union of India, (1998) 1 SCC 226