Bangalore Mirror: Chetan R: Sunday, March 26, 2017.
Here’s an interesting and alarming statistic: the Karnataka police has at least 1.48 lakh cases under investigation (UI). These are the cases awaiting completion while the aggrieved, in most cases, are awaiting justice. Bengaluru tops this pendency list in the state with a staggering 46,347 cases yet to be closed.
This information obtained by activist S Bhaskaran under the RTI Act has put the Karnataka police in the dock. While the force has received praise for cracking some very important cases such as the arrest of ISIS Twitter handler Mehdi Masroor Biswas in December 2014, it has also drawn flak for its failure in closing cases such as the infamous Jayanagar double murder from 2009 involving an elderly couple. Eight years on, the culprit is yet to be caught.
The number of pending cases in Bengaluru has dramatically increased in the last six years. In 2011, 1,850 cases were under investigation. This rose to 2,287 in 2012 and 2,552 in 2013. In 2014, it touched 3,490, scaling to 8,909 in 2015 and reaching a whopping 27,259 cases under investigation by 2016. By the end of the year, the tally was 46,347.
“Going by the popular saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, it seems the cases are being registered only for justice to be denied. This huge delay in completion of investigation is evidence to the fact. If this is the pendency index, imagine the number of people waiting for justice. It’s high time somebody takes note of it,” Bhaskaran told Bangalore Mirror.
While Bengaluru tops the list in the state with highest pendency, Raichur follows with 8,036 cases under investigation between 2011 and 2016, followed by Ramanagara with apendency of 7,646 cases and Bengaluru district (excluding city) with a total 6,688 cases pending between 2011 and 2016.
Interestingly, districts with lesser manpower and who keep a low profile have scored better than Bengaluru. The district with lowest pendency is Dharwad with just 630 cases pending or under investigation between 2011 and 2016. Then comes KGF with 643 cases during the same period. Gadag has a pendency of 835 cases, and Bagalkot follows with 1,037 cases.
According to a former SP, one reason for the increase in pending cases could be the change in the style of policing.
“Now, absence of inspection, which used to be mandatory in our days, could be one reason. Top officers such as L Revannasiddaiah used to review and sit with investigating officers for days if there was a case pending. He would personally examine records, CDs and documents of a case to take it to a logical end. The merit of an officer or a force was determined by the number of cases that went from FIR to conviction. That seems to be absent now,” said the former SP.
“Earlier, inspection of every police station by a DySp, twice a year, and SP, once a year, was mandatory. It rarely happens now. Though rise in crime could be a reason too, but more than that, it’s the change in policing. The basic function of a police station is investigation of a case, which is utterly neglected now. Sometimes, it is difficult to find an inspector at a police station because he is busy with things like a bandobast. Earlier, even with basic equipment and shortage of men, pendency was low and conviction was high. With technology and manpower it should have been better now. But it’s not. This could be because of lack of official supervision over progress of cases. Except cases that attract media, most cases go untouched. While inspectors to ACPs mainly look into investigation, SPs and officers of higher ranks are
mainly supervisory officers. Inadequate supervision could be a cause,” said the retired SP.
Meanwhile, Bhaskaran said the pendency problem is a serious one and will be taken to the High Court like howpendency issue in Lokayukta was dealt with. The HC had set a deadline to complete cases, considering the plight of families whose lives had been affected by years of delay.