About 11,000 complaints were registered against Madhya Pradesh police last year – accounting for a third of all such cases in India — although not a single conviction could be secured during the period, latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) showed.
The figures showed a spike in the number of such complaints against the state police, up by 17% to 10,887 cases in 2014 from a year ago. Of the total number of cases last year, 6,871 were dismissed as “false/unsubstantiated” after an initial investigation.
Activists said the large number of complaints in Madhya Pradesh indicated indiscipline in the police force and a lack of a proper grievance redressal mechanism.
“Complaints of misbehavior, harassment, negligence and violence are very common against police personnel. We see examples in hordes regularly. And internal mechanism of redressal can never actually solve the issue. There have been strong multiple recommendations for such mechanism but there is no implementation,” said senior activist LS Herdenia.
Herdenia, however, said one of the major reasons for “unlawful” behaviour by police personnel was the extremely stressful working and living conditions.
“Two pronged approach is needed to resolve the situation - a strong independent grievance redressal mechanism for public and a strong welfare system for the police where their own grievances could be heard.”
But the state government sought to dismiss the need for an independent grievance redressal authority, saying that a satisfactory system already exists within the force.
Home minister Babulal Gaur said all complaints against the police were heard and redressed properly. “It is not about the number but about the fact that everyone is heard and all complaints resolved. This is a force with proper hierarchy and there is no need for outside agency.”
DGP Surendra Sinh attributed the rise in the number of complaints to the fact that many times complaints against the general state machinery are registered as “complaints against the police”.
“But we have strong system of redressing too with senior officers taking up all complaints seriously up to the headquarters level. I personally don’t see the need of an independent agency. Serious cases anyway go for magisterial inquiries.”
A total of 34,844 cases were registered against police officers across 29 states in India in 2014, the NCRB data showed. Maharashtra comes a distant second behind Madhya Pradesh with 6,528 complaints registered. Three police personnel were convicted in Maharashtra last year, while 36% of the cases were dismissed.
In Madhya Pradesh, 93 charge sheets were presented in courts against 127 police personnel while in Maharashtra 167 charge sheets were presented against 186 law-enforcing officials.
Among the union territories, Delhi registered the maximum number of complaints against police personnel at 11,902, which was more than 90% of the total number of complaints registered in the seven union territories.
17% spike in complaints against police personnel from 2013 to 2014
Of the 10,887 cases, 6,871 were dismissed as false/unsubstantiated
Activists said complaints of misbehavior, harassment, negligence and violence were common
However, they added, a major reason behind such instances was the stressful working and living conditions of policemen