The police have refused investigation in 62 murders, 60 rapes, 216 kidnappings/abductions and 60 dacoity/robbery cases across the county last year, according to the latest national crime data published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
Though these crimes are considered grave in nature, the table with header ‘Disposal of IPC crime cases by police during 2012’ says a total of 2,854 cases were refused investigation by police. While Assam has topped the list with 1,588 cases, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat police have refused investigation in 403, 215 and 184 cases respectively.
Tamil Nadu is among 21 States/Union Territories that have recorded zero cases in this column. Interestingly, the Delhi Police have refused investigation in 109 cases. Besides rapes and murders, the police have also refused investigation in 7 dowry deaths, 39 cases of assault on women with an intention to outrage her modesty and 144 deaths caused by negligence.
However, going by the Police Standing Order, which is derived from the provisions of the IPC and the Cr. PC, police can refuse investigation only in some cases: trivial offences, petty thefts (value of stolen property less than Rs. 10 in value), undetected simple cases, civil disputes etc.
Describing the refusal of investigation in grave offences as an “absurdity” of law, PUCL national general secretary V. Suresh said it was the duty of police to register an FIR and investigate whenever a complainant disclosed a cognisable offence.
“There is no question of police refusing to investigate … we have not come across any such provision in law. Refusing to investigate a cognisable offence is unconstitutional and illegal. The fact that the NCRB is publishing this column in its annual reports every year only shows the continuation of an illegality with the complicity of the police and Home department,” Dr. Suresh said.
Calling for standardisation of the NCRB reports, a senior police official said he had written to the agency on a couple of occasions to check the grounds on which police refused investigation. “There seems to be a communication gap. The Police in any State cannot refuse investigation in cognisable offences. The term “investigation refused” has to be defined … it cannot be confused with the charges found false of mistake of fact or law since there is a separate column for that,” he said.