NEW DELHI: The president’s assent to the controversial CrPC amendment Bill is seen as a setback by certain senior police officials who readily admit they are ill prepared to implement it.
One senior officer went to the extent of saying: “Delhi is not ready to usher in such liberal and revolutionary changes.” However, the top brass put up a brave front saying the amendments would be implemented in “letter and spirit”.
According to the amendment, instead of arresting an accused, the police will now be obliged to issue a “notice of appearance” for any offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years. Seven years or less is also the maximum penalty for a host of offences, including attempt to commit culpable homicide (Section 308) or robbery (Section 393), voluntarily causing grievous hurt (Section 325) and death caused by negligence (Section 304A).
Under the new law, if the cops are still insistent upon arresting an accused in the first instance, then they will have to furnish reasons to the court, in writing.
According to the commissioner of Delhi Police, Y S Dadwal: “The amendments are not in black and white, which will prevent police from carry out its normal duty.” Dadwal adds: “The force is studying the various clauses and discussing the best ways to implement the law.”
Amuliya Patnaik, joint commissioner (crime) said the process of implementing the law has already begun. “We will soon be issuing specific instructions within our force for the effective implementation of the law in its letter and spirit,” he said.
Senior officials in the force, though, claim there would be “practical problems” in implementing the law. “We are already facing a shortfall in the number of investigating officers. Now, with these amendments, our IOs will even have to contend with those appealing against their arrests. This will mean convictions will be further delayed,” said a senior cop.
“The morale of the force might be affected negatively if the citizens begin questioning why we have stopped arresting the accused and instead handing out challans to them. They might even accuse us of favouring the guilty,” he adds.