This article on ‘Roles and Responsibilities of Police under Indian Criminal Law‘ was written by Shruti Korgaonkar, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The Criminal justice system deals with enforcing the law throughout the nation, preserving peace and harmony, and dealing with criminal activities. Amongst all the components of the criminal justice system, the police are regarded as the central authority of the justice system. Police play a crucial role as they are the first ones in emergencies to tackle the situations single-handedly.
A fresh instance regarding the same we all witnessed during the 26/11 attack where the police were the first who faced and successfully captured one of the deadly terrorists before the others armed forces arrived. In this study, we will more precisely learn the role and responsibilities of police in the criminal justice system.
It is the responsibility of the police to respond quickly upon learning of a crime involving the sexual assault of a woman, assist the victim, and the claimed offense should then be thoroughly and honestly investigated. The current police force’s basis was formed by the British presence in India. Police must establish their case against the accused of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
The criminal justice system has many different ideas; sometimes it is punitive, sometimes it is deterrent, sometimes it is corrective, and sometimes it is reformative. But the kind of justice is determined by the crime’s characteristics and what investigators discover about it. It is the responsibility of the police to prevent crime, fight crime, regulate crime, maintain peace, and enforce public order. This article explores the laws regulating the police in India, along with the roles and responsibilities of police in our Country.
Legislative Framework Regulating Police in India
- THE POLICE ACT, 1861- The Police Act,1861 is regarded as the primary piece of legislation controlling all facets of Indian law enforcement. It is the primary legislation and covers statewide police administration in its entirety. The number of officers or men engaged in the police, as per Section 2 of the Act, should be periodically determined by the appropriate state government and shall be properly enrolled. The District Superintended of police acting on the orders of the District Magistrate, is in charge of administering the district under Section 4 of the Act, while the Director-General of Police oversees the full operation of the state’s police force.
- THE POLICE ACT,1888– The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, create a special police district encompassing parts of two or more States, and extend to every part of the said district the powers and jurisdiction of members of a police force belonging to a State specified in the notification this was stated in Section 2 of this act.
- THE POLICE ACT, 1949-The administration of the police force in Union Territories has been outlined in this Act. Section 5 of the Act states that the Central Government oversees the police in every general police district. For the management of the police in UTs, the sections of The Police Act, 1861, are applicable.
- THE DELHI SPECIAL POLICE ESTABLISHMENT ACT, 1946– This act has been crucial to how police officers carry out their duties. It establishes a special police force in Delhi, and with the cooperation of the relevant State Governments, this organization may also incorporate or support the police of other states.
- THE MODEL POLICE ACT, 2006- This Act lays down the constitution, appointment, powers, role, and responsibilities of police officers.
Criminal Justice process involving Police
The criminal justice system’s procedure officially begins when the police get information concerning the commission of a cognizable offense, they write a First Information Report.
FIR is only a complaint against established order and security issues that are already in motion because practically all information can only be gathered together during the inquiry process.
Damodar V. State of Rajasthan In this case, the SC determined that even if the information given constituted a cognizable offense, there was no FIR because it had been communicated to the police over the phone, and DO entries had been made.
- The next steps deal with crime and investigation of the case details by visiting the crime scene. It includes inspecting the scene of the crime, examining the witnesses and suspects, collecting fingerprints, and footprints, recording observations conducting searches, and seizing property. etc. making an arrest, holding people in custody, and questioning the accused.
- When the investigation is over, the police officer in charge transmits the report to the relevant magistrate. If there is enough evidence to prosecute the defendant, a charge sheet will be included in the report that the investigating officer sends. This report is referred to as the final report if there is inadequate proof.
- The court takes cognizance of the charge sheet and starts the case’s trial after obtaining it.
- The charges are framed. The prosecution officer now has the burden of establishing the accusations against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Giving the accused his full chance to present his defense is required
- If the defendant is found guilty after a trial, the court may impose any of the following penalties: a fine, property confiscation, a term of simple or hard imprisonment, a life sentence, or the death penalty.
Role of Police in the Criminal Justice System
Numerous functions are played by police in the criminal justice system. In today’s world without a robust police force, the operation of the system is unimaginable Police detain alleged offenders and lawbreakers. They are taken into custody and brought before the trial court to prevent the corrupt officials’ wrongdoings. Through this procedure, the police are attempting to put a stop to criminal activity. Bringing criminal activity to justice is another crucial function of the police.
Sections 154 to176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure give police the authority to conduct criminal investigations. When the investigation is finished, the police must submit an indictment for prosecution or a final report for public distribution. A person who is knowledgeable of the case’s facts and circumstances can be verbally questioned by a police officer.
The Code of Criminal Procedure’s Sections 61 and 167 provide for police interrogation. A person who is held without a warrant shall be examined under section 61 within 24 hours, or section 167 within 15 days, if not. Finding the facts underlying the crime’s behavior is another crucial responsibility for the police. The police play extremely important responsibilities in stopping and seizing.
The manner and process of search and seizure are covered in Sections 96 to 105 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The police should adhere to just and reasonable rules when conducting searches and seizures. This task may be carried out by the police with or without a warrant. A police officer complies with his duty to report an occurrence to a person who has committed suicide, died without cause, was the victim of a homicide, or passed away unexpectedly.
After analyzing we can conclude that police are given the title of “gate-keeper” of the entire criminal justice system. They are the first to examine any crime scene, because of which they have to use their policing strength cautiously so that an innocent is not imprisoned because of their reckless investigation. We are being already handed a readymade police system by the British.
The Indian government has launched several measures to restructure the police organization, but none have been implemented to create a professional police force The whole government apparatus is well aware of corruption, unlawful detention, torture, and other police misconduct. Finally, it may be claimed that the government, local authorities, nonprofits, private people, and the police all have a crucial role to play in creating a civil society where there would be no crime and regular people won’t be subjected to torturous treatment.
- “Role of Police in Criminal Justice System: An Analytical Study on Indian Perspective”, 3(1) GLS Law Journal (2021)
- Ritika Sharma, “Who is police? What are powers & duties of police?”, Law Times Journal, 27 December 2019, available at:: https://lawtimesjournal.in/who-is-police-what-are-powers-duties-of-police/
- “ROLE OF POLICE IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM” 2(2) Law Audience Journal (2020)