Should Cops Become Robbers?

December 24, 2022

There is a French saying, ‘Le législateur devient le transgression’ that translates into English, ‘The legislator becomes the transgressor’. It is not nearly so folksy as "The fence eats the crop’. Generally, these sayings are applied to situations in which protectors abuse the very people they are charged to protect - police becoming robbers, etc.

Corruption among police is a widely prevalent malaise as reflected in the recent instances widely published in the media (and also detailed in my two books Corruption – Control of Maladministration and Corruption- India’s Painful Crawl to Lokpal. These reports show that if citizens stand up for their rights and not tamely submit to police corruption, they can get justice - literally. Two instances featured below.

Police officers are not required to do moral policing and ask for physical favour or material goods: SC

The Supreme Court (SC) has recently said that police officers are not required to do moral policing and ask for physical (intimacy) favour or material goods as it upheld the order of the disciplinary authority for the removal of a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) constable from service.

The SC has said police officers are not required to do moral policing and ask for physical favour or material goods as it upheld the order of the disciplinary authority for the removal of a CISF constable from service. A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and J K Maheshwari set aside the verdict of the Gujarat High Court of December 16, 2014, by which it had allowed the plea of CISF constable Santosh Kumar Pandey and directed his reinstatement in service with 50 per cent back wages from the date of his removal.

Pandey, who was working as a constable with CISF, was posted at the Greenbelt Area of the IPCL Township, Vadodara, Gujarat, where he was charge-sheeted vide memorandum dated October 28, 2001 on allegations of misconduct.

According to the charge-sheet, Pandey, on the intervening night of October 26 and October 27, 2001, when he was posted as a constable on night duty at the Greenbelt Area of the IPCL Township at about 1 am, one Mahesh B. Chaudhry and his fiancee had passed through the area on a motorcycle and had stopped in the corner, which is when Pandey had come forward and had questioned them.

As per the allegations, Pandey had taken advantage of the situation and had told Chaudhry that he would like to spend some time with his fiancee. The charge sheet said that when Chaudhry had protested and did not agree, Pandey had asked him to give something to him and Chaudhry had then given a watch he was wearing at that time. A complaint was made the next day by Chaudhary which led to inquiry against Pandey resulting in an order for termination of his service.

The bench said that in its opinion the reasoning given by the High Court is faulty on both facts and law. "On the question of proportionality of punishment, we have to observe that the facts in the present case are startling and distressing. Respondent No. 1- Santosh Kumar Pandey is not a police officer, and even police officers are not required to do moral policing, ask for physical favour or material goods," it said. It said that in view of the factual and legal position, they accept the appeal filed by the CISF and set aside the impugned judgment of the Gujarat High Court.

"Accordingly, Special Civil Application...filed by Respondent No. 1 -Santosh Kumar Pandey before the High Court will be treated as dismissed. The order of removal from service passed by the disciplinary authority is upheld," it said.

The bench said it takes reservations regarding the reasoning given in paragraphs of the impugned judgment as it fails to take notice and properly apply the law of judicial review. "Judicial review is not akin to adjudication of the case on merits, and adequacy or inadequacy of evidence, unless the court finds that the findings recorded are based on no evidence, perverse or are legally untenable in the sense that it fails to pass the muster...," it said.

Bengaluru: Cops harass couple for roaming ‘late at night’ on road, extort money

A shocking incident occurred in Bengaluru recently wherein two cops harassed a married couple for roaming late at night. Resident Karthik Patri shared his ordeal on Twitter that left him and his wife shocked. Patri wrote, "I would like to share a traumatic incident my wife and I encountered the night before. It was around 12:30 midnight. My wife and I were walking back home after attending a friend’s cake-cutting ceremony".

Patri, who resides near Manyata Tech Park, said he and his wife were a few metres away from our entrance gate when a pink Hoysala patrol van stopped by them.

"Two men in police uniform asked us to show our ID cards. We were taken aback. Why should an adult couple walking on the street on a normal day be asked to show their ID cards?" Patri wrote.

The couple recounted that they were only carrying the phone and a box of cake with them. Suddenly, the cops snatched their phones and started quizzing about their "relationship, place of work, parental details, etc".

The cops noted down the Aadhaar numbers, which were on their phones, and issued a challan.

"You are not allowed to roam on the road after 11 pm", a cop told Patri.

Without confronting the cops, Patri and his wife chose to apologise to the policemen as their phones were confiscated, and had no help in sight.

"We decided to back down. It was late in the night; our phones had been confiscated; there was no help in sight, and the least we wanted was a confrontation with two policemen," Patri wrote.

However, the harassment by the police continued. They started extorting money from the couple.

"We thought we were over it, but it was as if the two men were waiting for this moment. They refused to let us go and demanded Rs 3,000 as a penalty. Our hearts sunk," Patri added.

According to Patri, the cops were out to con unsuspecting civilians. "We ended up being their victims. We literally begged them to let us go, but they wouldn’t budge".

Patri said the cops showed them pictures of convicts and threatened them with dire consequences if they did not pay.

Then one of the cops took Patri aside and advised him to pay a minimum amount to avoid further trouble.

The distressed couple ended up paying Rs 1000 to the cops and their only fault was they were roaming late at night.

"I agreed to pay Rs 1,000 and get done with it. The man immediately held up a PayTM QR code, waited for me to scan it and make the payment, and let us go with a stern warning: “If I and my wife are ever seen walking on the road at midnight, they would register a strong case ... against us and ensure that we keep circling around the court," Patri wrote on Twitter.

After reaching home, Patri tagged Bengaluru City police on Twitter and asked, "Is this not terrorism, is this not legalized torture? Is this how honest, law-abiding citizens of this land are meant to be treated? If the protectors of law themselves break the law and prey on hapless citizens, whom do we turn to?"

Taking cognizance of offence, the city police arrested the culprits on Sunday (18/12/22).

"Two police personnel from SAMPIGEHALLI BCP responsible for the incident have been identified, suspended, and departmental action initiated," the Bengaluru City police wrote on Twitter.

"We will not tolerate deviant behaviour from its staff," it added.

Alert readers would have discerned that in the first instance above the case took the court route and the culprit were nailed by the highest court of the land and took about two decades to get justice. In the second instance, the outraged couple took the media route and got justice within a week. In both instances men and women were involved and were wide open for blackmail. Readers can add more to these instances.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is welcome in the format given below (Pl. scroll down a bit). Once again welcome to reason.


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • k b r, Mangala Uru

    Sat, Dec 24 2022

    There are some cops who became robbers after they were sacked from police department....

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