Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is the ‘Top 25’ drive initiated by Mumbai police?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Top 25 drive

Mains level : Preventive detention, Chapter proceedings

The Mumbai police have started a drive titled ‘Top 25’ aimed at keeping under check history-sheeters and those they believe could create trouble.

Preventive detention laws in India have come to be associated with gross and frequent misuse.

What is the ‘Top 25’ drive of the Mumbai police?

  • The Mumbai police commissioner has asked all police stations in the city to make a list of the “top 25” criminals and ask them to sign a bond of good behavior failing which they would have to pay a fine.
  • The aim is to rein in criminal elements and those the police believe could create a law and order problem in the city.
  • While this practices that is termed “chapter proceedings” has been followed in the past, the amount a person would usually forfeit was around Rs 10,000 – Rs 15,000.
  • Now, the amount has been raised up to Rs 50 lakh.

How is the police calculating the surety amount now?

  • The police are now going through the bank details and tax returns of the person and the surety amount is set in accordance with the annual income of the offender or his family.
  • The police believe that the threat of having to pay a high amount will act as a deterrent and that a few thousand as surety amount did not have the desired effect.

What are Chapter Proceedings?

  • Chapter proceedings are preventive actions taken by the police if they fear that a particular person is likely to cause law and order trouble.
  • These proceedings are unlike punitive action taken in case of an FIR with an intention to punish.
  • Here, the police can issue notices under sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that the person is aware that creating a nuisance could result in action against him.
  • Recently, the Mumbai police initiated chapter proceedings against an extremely chauvinistic news reporter and media head.

Rights of the accuse

  • On receiving such notice, a person can appeal before the courts.
  • In fact, in the past, courts have come down strongly against chapter proceedings in some cases.
  • In 2017, while striking down a notice issued to the owner of a bar, the Bombay High Court said: “chapter proceedings cannot be initiated on the basis of an incident of trivial nature”.

Back2Basics: Arrest vs. Preventive Detention

An ‘arrest’ is done when a person is charged with a crime. An arrested person is produced before a magistrate within the next 24 hours. In case of preventive detention, a person is detained as he/she is simply restricted from doing something that might deteriorate the law and order situation.

  • Article 22 of the Indian Constitution provides safeguards against the misuse of police powers to make arrests and detentions.
  • Clause (2) of Article 22 reads that every person who is arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of twenty-four hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey.
  • Clause (4) of the article states that no individual can be detained for more than 3 months unless a bench of High court judges or an Advisory board decides to extend the date.
  • Clause (5) states that the detained individual should be made aware of the grounds he/she has been detained (in pursuance of the order) and should provide him/her with an opportunity of making a representation against the case.
  • Parliament may by law prescribe the circumstances under a person may be detained for a period longer than three months under any law.
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