Why police probe cases against own members

17 September 2021

Gulam Rabbani :
Under the current legal framework, investigation into the charges brought against the police and other law enforcing agencies' members is entrusted with the police and some of its organizations. As a result, questions are often raised about the transparency of the investigation process.
In most cases the accused are getting acquittal from the charges easily, as there is no independent investigation process.
The main condition of justice is proper and impartial investigation into an offence. According to the Articles 27 and 35(3) of the Constitution, a proper and impartial investigation into a crime is a fundamental human right.
Legal experts think that it is necessary to form an independent commission to investigate the allegations against the law enforcers.
A section of the law enforcing agencies including the police and the RAB are involved with different types of criminal offences like extrajudicial killings, torture and death in custody, kidnapping for ransom, murder, rape and eve teasing.
Md Kamruzzaman, Assistant Inspector General of Police, who is also in charge of Media and Public Relations department of the Police Headquarters, said, "The police and some of its agencies are tasked with investigating different crimes under the present legal framework. According to that framework, the police also have to conduct probe into various allegations against its own members in different times.
And in that case, the police always try to maintain proper professionalism. That is why there is no scope to question the neutrality of the investigations."
"Moreover, the present Inspector General of Police has already announced that the force will never bear the responsibility if any member is involved with drugs, corruption or any other crimes. This instruction also helps the investigating officers to conduct the probes neutrally," said the police official.
Section 71 of the proposed Police Ordinance-2007 recommends for the formation of a 'Police Complaints Commission', but the government has not implemented it till today. Md Kamruzzaman say that he is not aware of the proposed ordinance.
Some Supreme Court lawyers in February this year filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking its directives upon the respondents to constitute an 'Independent Police Complaint Investigation Commission' to probe into the allegations against the members of the law enforcing agencies including the police who are committing crimes.
The petition was placed in the High Court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah for hearing.
Lawyer Mohammad Shishir Manir, a counsel for the petitioner, said that they will mention the petition for hearing when the High Court would allow them physically.
The writ petition sought an ad-interim direction from the High Court to form a committee comprising retired judge, former inspector general of police, retired secretary, law teacher and civil society representative.
It also sought direction so that the committee could discuss and review the relevant issues and submit their views in the form of a report directly to the court.
The lawyers submitted the 145-page petition annexing the 1522 pages of documents as a public interest litigation saying that a section of law enforcers are reportedly involved with 18 types of crimes, including extrajudicial killing, rape, stalking, drug trading, torture, custodial deaths and enforced disappearances.
In the petition, the lawyers mentioned of around 589 incidents of such offences taking place from January 2017 to July 2020.
The petition has also annexed copies of six such cases where in it has been shown that the accused who are the members of the law enforcing agencies got acquittal from the charges.
They also stated that since law enforcers conduct their own inquiries into the allegations against them, the probes are not done fairly and neutrally.
Barrister Shanjid Siddique, a Supreme Court lawyer, said, "The police force are bestowed with acute power and if there is allegation against any of its member of committing an offence or other serious misconduct it should be inquired by an independent commission. The Parliament may enact law constituting the independent commission and specifying its functions. This independent office will be a strong catalyst for rule of law in the country."

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