Curious Case Of Police Districts

THE government decision to carve out two new police districts in the state may not have the required backing of the law. Possibly it has not been examined by the law department. The Criminal Procedure Code  clearly defines a district as a revenue district. So unless the CrPC is amended by Parliament to redefine a district, this move by the government to make Mapusa and Ponda the two new police districts is in violation of the law. Since Goa has two districts the government could contemplate having two SPs in each district and designate their specific roles. Goa is a very small state and the police can perform well if there is no political interference in their  functioning. The Police Establishment Board set up on the directions of the Supreme Court has lost its sanctity with ministers and MLAs having police officials of their choice posted in their area. Not long ago the government had decided to have two police inspectors at every police station – one officer to deal with law and  order and the other in charge of investigating crimes. But that has not been pursued. Merely forming new police districts is by no stretch of imagination going to improve policing.


Law Misused, Justice Delayed

THE Centre is invoking draconian laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and is unleashing investigating  agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Narcotics Control Bureau against those who disagree with it. The Centre is also misusing the agencies in cases  like the alleged suicide of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, which  should have been  under the domain of police investigation. The government should understand that the iron-hand approach perpetuates violence. It is the solemn duty of the court to ensure the power is exercised strictly in accordance with the Constitution and the law. It has been reported that an accused in a rape case was acquitted in Goa by the court after the  person was arrested on February 2013 and jailed for seven years. There are many such cases of acquittals, with no compensation or attempt to investigate and penalise those responsible for wrongly taking away seven  years of a person’s life. Episodes like these make the citizens lose their faith in the police;  they seek court’s supervision  in every investigation by the police or the CBI. There are enough laws but until vital police reforms are adopted,  courts dispense speedy justice and religion- and caste-based prejudices are not stamped out, the future  looks bleak.


On COVID Transmission

DR Nandkumar Kamat in his article  ‘How Healthy People are Gifted COVID’  (NT,  October 5, 2020) has explained how air-conditioned spaces, especially offices and vehicles, have aided the transmission of the coronavirus. He explained how even triple-layered masks are useless if the virus is suspended as aerosols in contained spaces. This puts the responsibility on heads of both private and government offices for the safety of their staff. Those in power must realise that the lives of employees  are in their hands, and hapless as the latter are, they have to obey orders. I have personally met people who fear for their lives as they go to work and pray that they do not return home infected. There are methods to ensure safety in offices. Some managements are alternating staff duties and  disinfecting  spaces and files every day; employees are being tested for virus as soon as the symptoms appear. The editor of ‘The Navhind Times’ too has in several editorials pointed out the lacunae in the fight against COVID. Shirking responsibility is as good as presiding over COVID deaths.