By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) With as little as less than 23 per cent of conviction rate under the present criminal laws, the Centre is all set to make changes in the British-enacted Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) sections that came up during the Raj, and prepare a layout for criminal investigation, specially based on forensic evidence to increase conviction rates.
The national conviction rate in India for offences under the IPC is abysmal as per the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, which experts also highlight does not have any witness protection programme.
Kerala has the highest conviction rate at about 84 per cent, while Bihar has the lowest at around 10 per cent, said the data.
A total of 37,27,909 persons were arrested under 30,62,579 IPC crimes. A total of 35,72,935 persons were chargesheeted, 8,73,983 persons were convicted and 12,65,590 persons were acquitted or discharged, said NCRB data “Crime in India- 2017”.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allocated the task to its senior officials dealing with internal security to suggest necessary changes in the IPC and CrPC so that internal security in the 21st century can become foolproof.
A layout in this regard is being prepared and a proposal will soon be presented before the Union Cabinet so that a Bill can be moved in Parliament.
It is learnt that suggestions have been sought from state police departments, judges and lawyers, besides civil society to bring IPC and CrPC in line with a democratic functioning of the government.
Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)– which is mandated to find solutions to challenges being faced by the police forces among other responsibilities — has also submitted suggestions to change IPC and CrPC rules which during the British Rule were made to secure its empire.
“BPR&D suggestions are being analyzed by the Home Ministry,” a senior Home Ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also given indication regarding the move during the recently concluded 47th All India Police Science Congress summit in Uttar Pradesh’ Lucknow in which he mentioned about the need to deal with growing challenges in a “free country like India” in securing the country’s borders, infiltration, fake currency, cyber-attacks and trafficking of humans, arms, narcotics and animals.
He also said that priority must be given for a “better future of the citizens”, noting that India shares over 15,000 km land boundary, over 7,500 km coastline, mentioning hostile neighbour always try to sow the seeds of terrorism in the country.
The government must have effective coordination between border security forces and state police.
A plan is also being made for coordination and cohesion of state police and investigation agencies with the Central government.
For this purpose, the Centre recently made some changes in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act and it also moved a Bill in the Lok Sabha last week to change rationalising and facilitating the licensing procedures for use of firearms by individuals as well as to curb crimes committed by using illegal firearms and provide effective deterrence against violation of law.
In the Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks amendment to the Arms Act, 1959, provides for enhancement of period of arms licence from three years to five years and also to issue arms licence in electronic form.
In 2015, also some changes were made in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985, which provides for confiscation of illegally traded narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The government is also working on the vision to establish a National Forensic Science University, with an affiliated college in each state and forensic science lab in each district, to make prosecution and conviction more effective in the backdrop of the rate of conviction in the country which is at a pitiful level.
The MHA is also working on the model to establish a Modus Operandi Bureau (MOB) to study the psychological profile crime and criminals, for effective implementation of law and order, and on a similar line to create post of Director (Prosecution).
Considering the reach of Narcotics, which is spoiling the youth, work is also being done for a wholesome change in the entire structure of Narcotics Bureau with something in the same model for the states in advisory format, said another source.
“In a holistic approach, a plan is being made with the help of BPR&D for a complete overhaul of policing and change people’s perceptions about the force. The aim is to make police sensitive, modern, alert, responsive and techno savvy,” the official said.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])