ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Institutional Checks against Police Excesses

Institutional Checks against Police Excesses THE judgment delivered by a division bench of the Bombay High Court only illustrates the leval hurdles in the way of a citizen who seeks redress from the courts against misconduct by a police officer. The court ruled that a criminal case cannot be filed against a police officer unless sanction has been secured from the competent authority under S 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Three persons had charged a police sub-inspector with wrongful arrest followed by assault. That the entire set of provisions for sanction which are over a century old call for review is obvious. They make the state judge in its own cause. Which state government would accord sanction for a private prosecution against a police officer? The provision for sanction is defended on the ground that otherwise the police would be exposed to "a flood of complaints". How many in our country have the resources to go to the courts? If a frivolous or unreasonable complaint is filed the complainant can be punished with fine and, in gross cases, with imprisonment. But to prevent a citizen from crossing the threshold of the courts is to undermine the rule of law.

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