Status of Policing in India Report, 2020-21 Vol. II

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Key takeaways (English):

SPIR 2020-21 Vol. II (Key takeaways) English

Key takeaways (Hindi):

SPIR 2020-21 Vol. II (Key takeaways) Hindi

The archaic criminal justice system in India is geared in favour of the rich and powerful, says Justice Deepak Gupta.

New Delhi, August 16, 2021: “A poor person in India does not have equality before the law promised to him under Article 14 of the Constitution,” said Justice Deepak Gupta, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India.

Delivering the Keynote Address at the launch of the Status of Policing in India Report (SPIR) 2020-2021, Volume II: Policing in the Covid-19 Pandemic, the third instalment in a series of ground reports on policing in India with data from across the nation, Justice Gupta pointed out that not only the police but also the media and general public targeted the Tablighis during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also expressed his concern about how the police are becoming highly politicised and are working in favour of the ruling party.

As part of a panel discussion at the same event on ‘Law Enforcement in Crises: Discretion, Excesses and Expectations,’ lawyer and activist Nikita Sonavane said: “During our work in Madhya Pradesh we found that three out of four individuals who were arrested for violating lockdown regulations belonged to marginalised communities.”

Dr Ish Kumar, Former DGP & Head NCRB, stressed that the police’s lack of sensitivity towards the common man, lack of service orientation, inherent caste and gender biases, feeling of khaki power, belief in danda culture as well as lack of democratic values and accountability do require reforms. Mr G K Pillai, Former Home Secretary, said: “The pandemic will not be the last crisis the police are going to face.” He added that there are now possibilities of cyber security issues, infrastructure attack, natural calamity and water crisis due to climate change. In all these scenarios, the police are going to be involved more than ever before. Pillai, therefore, stressed on the need for different SOPS for Tier I/Tier II cities, rural areas, etc to tackle these situations.

The Status of Policing in India Reports (SPIR) are brought out every year by the civil society watchdog Common Cause in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS). The first volume of the report, unveiled on April 19, 2021, focused on ‘Policing in Conflict-Affected Regions,’ and covered 27 districts in 11 states of India affected by some form of conflict, extremism, or insurgency. That report and its key findings, as well as the current report, can be downloaded from the Common Cause website. The two SPIR 2020-2021 volumes study policing during unusual and extraordinary circumstances. 

The Second Volume of SPIR 2020-21, released today, analyses data from a survey of common people and police personnel from Tier 1 and Tier II/III cities of 10 states and Union Territories. The report also looks at the media coverage of the nature of policing during the initial phases of the national lockdown. Some of the key findings of a separate, rapid survey with migrant workers and relief workers from Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan and Gujarat have also been presented in this report.

It may be noted that all the findings of the report pertain to the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis in India in 2020, since the data collection was done in the months of October and November 2020.