One of the most significant societal institutions is the police. As a result, the police officers are the government’s most noticeable representatives. When a citizen is in a time of need, danger, crisis, or trouble and is unsure of what to do or who to contact, the police station and a police officer are the most suitable and approachable unit and person for him.
The expectation is that police will be the most approachable, engaging, and dynamic organisation in any society. It is only normal for their societal roles, responsibilities, and obligations to be diverse and complex at the same time.
In general, the police’s dual responsibilities are to uphold the law and preserve order. However, these two responsibilities have a wide range of implications, leading to the creation of a comprehensive list of the police organization’s duties, functions, powers, roles, and responsibilities. While giving police a variety of powers is necessary for them to carry out their duties, doing so opens the door to abuse and subsequent violations of human rights.
This article will discuss police powers, instances of abuse of power, legal restraints, and judicial oversight of police operations.
The meaning of police
The Criminal Procedure Code, the Police Act of 1881, and any State Police Acts do not define the term “police,” only describing the form and organisation of the state’s police forces.
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, “police”
“The government agency tasked with promoting public safety, sabotaging public order, and sabotaging the detection of crime” “The officers or members of this department,” When Sir Robert Peel created the first municipal force in London in the 1820s, the police force as we know it today was born in England.Prior to then, either volunteers or sliders in the military had handled law enforcement.
“Law enforcement officials” is as defined by the UN Code of Conduct for law enforcement personnel.As well as including military troops who exercise police powers whether they are allotted with police uniform or not, as well as including all authorities, whether they are elected or appointed, who exercise police powers, including the powers of arrest or detention.
The UN Code of Conduct for law enforcement personnel specifies what “law enforcement officials” are. Along with including all authorities, whether elected or appointed, who exercise police powers, including the right of arrest or detention.
It also includes military personnel who execute police powers whether or not they are assigned a police uniform. Simply said, “police” refers to any individual or group of individuals appointed by the state with the responsibility and ability to uphold law and order and prevent and investigate crimes.
International Commitments: The promotion and encouragement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are also enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, is one of the UN charter’s key purposes.
Each and every person has the right to life, liberty, and security, according to Article 3 of the UDHR.
Similar language can be found in Article 6(1) of the ICCPR, which states that everyone has an intrinsic right to life. The law must defend this right. No one’s life shall be taken without justification.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, brutal, or degrading treatment or punishment, according to Article 5 of the UDHR.
Additional guarantees include the right to equality before the law and the right to an effective redress for violations of fundamental rights. There shall be no arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile, according to Article 9 of the Declaration.
Everyone has the right to a fair and public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal in order to determine their rights and obligations as well as the validity of any criminal charges brought against them.
Police brutality and torture have persisted for the past 20 years, and as a result, it appears that the law’s keepers have turned into lawbreakers. After the 1980s, the police appear to have grown more concerned with the lathi-wielding culture, its brutality, and its use of third-degree methods as the norm.
The increasing use of oppressive tactics by the police and other atrocities committed by them are examples of human rights breaches.
Police Atrocities during the Emergency: A satyagrahi was taken into prison by the police during the emergency in March 1976, but no case was ever filed against him. He was held against his will for a few days and tortured physically in numerous ways during that time. Characteristics of police atrocities after the 1980s:
In order to avoid leaving any physical evidence of their atrocities on victims’ bodies after 1980, police have turned to more oppressive methods. Even children suffered at the hands of the cops. Convicts were given young boys to enjoy, some of them were tortured into impotence, hanged upside down, mercilessly beaten, shocked with electricity, etc. brutal techniques were used to coerce confessions.
Death in police custody: Since the 1970s, deaths in custody have increased significantly. These killings are frequently the result of torturing the victim in an effort to obtain information or teach them a lesson.
Torture: It is a well-known truth that police violence and torture are pervasive in India. When persons are being questioned by the police on suspicion of committing routine crimes, such techniques are routinely used. Police utilise harsh physical force against suspects in order to force confessions or for intimidating purposes. Although there have also reportedly been a few instances of beating in prisons, it is reported that torture has occurred in police stations. Fake Encounters:
By carrying out atrocities and arbitrary deaths against people, the police engage in another area of flagrant human rights breaches. The Supreme Court ruled in persons’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India that two persons were killed in a fake encounter by Imphal police, clearly violating their right to life as protected by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, and that the defence of sovereign immunity does not apply in such circumstances. The defendants of each of the deceased received rupees 1,000,000 in compensation from the court.