AG proposes separate investigation, law and order wings for police

In the light of rape on a seven-year-old girl in a Vasco school and the brutal rape and murder of a paramedical student in New Delhi, the Advocate General (AG),

Mr Atmaram Nadkarni has proposed separate investigating and law and order wings for the police department. The suggestion was first made by the Supreme Court when it listed out reforms in the police to insulate it from political interference.
Speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’, Mr Nadkarni said, “Today we have police officers looking after both law and order as well as investigations and while performing dual duties the investigation suffers and inordinate delay is caused.”
Mr Nadkarni claimed that absence of trained investigating officials causes delay in investigations as officials lack the skills as well as necessary expertise to reach a logical conclusion. He also said that the state needs better trained public prosecutors. He stated that the state police personnel have stuck to old investigation techniques and are reluctant to use the available advanced techniques of investigation.
Mr Nadkarni said that most courts lack necessary infrastructure and quality judicial officers resulting in low conviction rate. He said that some of the lower courts are based in premises without proper ventilation affecting the proceedings.
“There is an urgent need to provide proper facilities for litigants, judges and lawyers. Courts should be well-equipped with libraries, computers, and above all efficient staff,” Mr Nadkarni said.
Mr Nadkarni also attributed noisy court surroundings for interruption in proceedings thereby lowering the conviction rate and leading to delay in justice. He called upon authorities to shift courts in calm areas. He proposed that district courts be shifted to Merces and the High Court to Porvorim. He also sought adequate parking facility near court premises.
A senior police official, on conditions of anonymity, stated that due to delay in receiving forensic reports, the importance of muddemal (physical evidence seized by the prosecution which becomes court property once the case begins), in providing speedy justice is negated.
The officer also called for setting up a forensic laboratory in the state adding that in absence of such a facility, police authorities are forced to rely on viscera reports from Gujarat, blood reports from Hyderabad and DNA reports from Kolkatta. He said that since these states have their share of cases to deal with, second preference is given to cases from Goa thereby causing delay in investigations. He added that justice delayed is justice denied.
He also claimed that investigating officers are overburdened with many responsibilities like patrolling besides attending courts and administrative duties and as such they cannot concentrate on investigations. He informed that almost everyday, three to four FIRs are lodged in every city of the state such as Panaji, Mapusa, Margao and Vasco and so in a month around 90 FIRs are booked. It includes cases of persons missing, thefts, murders, domestic violence, internal disputes and forged passport cases. As a result there are a number of backlogs in every police station, he added.
Considering the rising crime rate, we are busy 24×7 and cannot devote any time to our children and personal life so the family suffers, he rued. In such a situation, there is urgent need to double up the number of police staff.
Police stations like Sanguem, Mormugao, Quepem, Valpoi which record less crimes can make do with minimum staff while police stations on the coastal belt need more staff particularly during tourists season, he added.
A SP claimed that in many cases, owing to faulty investigation and delays, often witnesses turn hostile. Witnesses sometimes give up owing to umpteen hearings, he added. [NT]