ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Police and Society

February 8, 1986 Police and Society THE police in India has been under considerable criticism from various sections of Society, Reports in newspapers and journals add up to indicate that there is perhaps no crime which the police has not committed. The upholders of law and order appear to be Us worst violaters and one is reminded of Justice A N Mulla's remark about the police being a bunch of criminals in uniform. What makes the police act in a manner which is contradictory to the role it is expected to perform? Or, to be more specific what ails the Indian police? This was the basic question before the national seminar on The Role of the Police in a Changing Society in India'. organised jointly by the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta and Law Research Institute, Calcutta. The seminar was held on November 2 and 3, 1985 at the IIMC Campus at Joka. That the theme of this seminar was topical was evident from the unexpectedly high participation of over seventy delegates comprising eminent academicians, civil liberties activists, journalists, lawyers, judges and police officials, both serving and retired. In his welcome address, Justice Salil K Roy Choudhury, Chairman of the Organising Committee, noted that there was a need to review the activities of the police in the changing social and political, conditions The police should no longer remain as an oppressive arm of the government as it was during the colonial days. It is now expected to engage in activities other than maintaining law and order. There are of course several constraints which the police has to face. The entire gamut of the criminal justice system needs to be critically reassessed and the role of legislators, judiciary and the police needs to be reviewed so as to evolve a system which will check the erosion of confidence of the people in this institution. Justice Roy Choudhury also dealt with the problem of political interference in the activities of the police but he pointed out that the problem is not always that of police versus politicians but also of a nexus between police and politicians where the former willingly succumb to the manipulations of the latter in exchange of personal gain While dealing with accountability of the police, he noted that the press can play a constructive role in bridging the gap between the police and the people. The legislators too have a right to review the activities of the police and this should not be interpreted as interference as the norms which govern the police as an instrument of social control and norms which allow the elected representatives to scrutinise the activities of the police need not be contradictory. In this context, secrecy in the police organisation needs to be reviewed Too much of secrecy reduces the level of accountability. It encourages and perpetuates the clande- stine nexus between unscrupulous politicians and opportunistic policemen.

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