From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CrPC provisions
Mains level : Paper 2- Reduction in the time for investigation and issues with it
Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Bill of 2019 seeks to reduce the time period for investigation of some crimes to seven days. Such a move could have several consequences. The article deals with that issue.
State governments reducing the period of investigation
- The proposed Maharashtra Shakti Act of 2020 will have a provision to complete the investigation within 15 days.
- Maharashtra has taken cur from the Andhra Pradesh’s Disha Bill of 2019.
- Disha mandated completion of investigation within seven working days for offenses such as harassment of women, sexual assault on children, and rape, where “adequate conclusive evidence” is available.
- The interpretation of “adequate conclusive evidence” by the police shall remain a problem.
What are the CrPC provisions?
- The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provides that investigations relating to offenses punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years must be completed within 60 days.
- For offenses with higher punishment (including rape) the time limit is of 90 days of detaining the accused, else he or she shall be released on bail.
- To speed up the process, the CrPC was amended in 2018 and the period of investigation was reduced from 90 to 60 days for all cases of rape.
Factors that decide the time required
- Generally, the time of investigation depends on several factors like the severity of the crime, the number of accused persons and agencies involved.
- This is besides the fact that in many cases of rape, the victim remains under trauma for some time and is not able to narrate the incident in detail.
- The speed and quality of investigation also depend on whether a police station has separate units of investigation and law and order.[ a long-pending police reform]
- It also depends on the number of available IOs and women police officers, and the size and growth of the FSL and its DNA unit.
Consider the question “Examine the reasons for the high crime rate in India? Recently, some state governments have reduced the duration for the investigation of crime. How such move could impact the investigation?”
Setting narrow timelines for investigation creates scope for procedural loopholes that may be exploited during the trial. Therefore, instead of fixing unrealistic timelines, the police should be given additional resources so that they can deliver efficiently.