Rights of Police:
- The police force has the right to injure or kill the criminal, for the sole and only purpose of self-defense or where it is imminently necessary for the maintenance of peace and order.
- Under Section-96 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), every human being has the right to private defense which is a natural and an inherent right.
- Section-46 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) authorises the police to use force, extending up to the cause of death, as may be necessary to arrest the person accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.
- Reasons behind Increasing Extra-judicial Killing:
- Public Support: It emerges out of a lack of faith in the judiciary because many believe that the courts will not provide timely justice.
- The fact of getting away with cold-blooded murders is the key reason behind police getting bolder by the day and killing at will.
- Political Support: Many leaders project encounter numbers as their achievement in maintaining law and order.
- Rewards: The police forces are very often rewarded and awarded for encounters.
- The government provides promotion and cash incentives to the teams involved in the encounters.
- Ineffective Institutions: The National Human Rights Commission and the state human rights commissions have been redundant for many years.
- Though the judiciary is fully empowered to take up such cases suo-moto, however, this has now become a very rare practice.
- Hero-worshipping: The police become heroes in the society as many people see them doing the job of cleaning up the Indian society by killing the criminals.
- Many times they are also projected as heroes on the silver screen with big budget films made on them and their 'heroic' acts.
- Amidst all the hero-worshipping, the people, the media and even the judiciary seem to cast aside the fact that all the killings are suspect unless they have been properly investigated and the real story established.
- The Constitution of India intended for India to be a country governed by the rule of law.
- As per the rule of law, the Constitution is the supreme power in the land and the legislative and the executive derive their authority from the constitution.
- There is a procedure prescribed by the law for criminal investigation which is embedded in the Constitution under Article 21 as the Right to Life and Personal Liberty. It is fundamental, non-derogable and is available to every person. Even the State cannot violate that right.
- Hence, it is the responsibility of the police to follow the Constitutional principles and uphold the Right to Life of every individual whether an innocent one or a criminal.