There was a day-light murder of a very popular social activist who always raised the issue of poor and downtrodden before District Administration. He was very popular among the downtrodden. A strong and determined crowed of ten thousand people have assembled at the collectorate with the dead body demanding immediate action against the accused police officials who have failed to provide necessary security to the leader. People suspect that there is a hand of one powerful leader from the ruling party. You are the head of the District Administration? (a) What are the options available to you? (7.5 Marks) (b) Evaluate the merits and demerits of each option and choose the option which you consider best, giving reasons? (7.5 Marks)

(a) What are the options available to you?

  • The District Magistrate may send the police to control the crowd and assure the agitating people that the culprit would not be spared and the law would take its own course. The persons leading the agitating people should be invited to discuss the issue with the administration and possible steps should be initiated to bring the culprit behind the bars so as to prevent such brazen acts by anybody, howsoever powerful
  • If agitating people turn violent, in such a case the DM should first resort to the use of mild or relevant degrees of force on them to bring normalcy and avoid causality or loss of property of the innocent citizens.
  • Neither the DM nor the police can take law in their hands, but the former may instruct the police to register an FIR on the basis of prima facie evidence or even on the basis of complaint of the people to soothe their anger against the said culprit. Police should also enquire about the event in a fast track mode, get hold of the culprit and present him/her before the court in the least possible time. Eventually, the law and evidence would decide whether the named culprit is actually guilty or not.

(b) Evaluate the merits and demerits of each option and choose the option which you consider best, giving reasons?

  • The choice of best option would depend on the level and degree of peoples’ outburst. As long as people are venting out their anger and indulging in violence and arson, option (ii) is the only option. But precautions should be taken to avoid causalities or loss of property of innocent citizens.
  • Ideally, option (i) is the best if leaders of the agitating people come forward to talk and chalk out the future course of action to bring the culprit to law. This would depend on the image of the administration and police among people and trust they enjoy from previous experiences.
  • The most practical option is option (iii). The police should act in a swift manner as the crime is committed. Even if delay has occurred due to some unavoidable reasons, if administration and police appear sincere by their initial suo-moto actions such as registering a quick FIR, a raid on the premises of the people who have allegedly done the crime, arrests, etc., public anger would be vented and trust could be generated. The rest would be taken care of by the legal system.
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