Politicians, Police & Criminal nexus:
Greatest Threat to rule Of Law in India
Today, India is facing crisis of governance as there is a nexus between politicians, police and criminals. This has created havoc in our country. The enforcers of rule of law have become the violators of law. Rule of law is the basic structure of our Constitution. The rule of law requires that the Government should be subject to law, rather than law subject to the Government. Dicey has attributed the following three meaning to the rule of law: (i) Supremacy of law, (ii) Equality before law, (iii) Predominance of legal spirit. Rule of law essentially means equality before law, and every individual should be subject to the same laws in the same manner. So, the politicians and the police have no right to hold a superior position in this context. The Emergency of 1977 that was proclaimed in India during Indira Gandhi’s reign needs a special mention here. The Government used the police force to detain people without any charges or notification to families. Illegal enactments were made which modified our Constitution. During this period, when a police officer shot dead an innocent man, the court had no power to interfere. In the history of India, this incident was the biggest challenge to democracy of our country.
The ideal politician’s role in a state is to create job opportunities, promote economic activity, improve the welfare of its people and maintain the territorial integrity of his country. They should implement the policies which are meant for the general welfare. They should also ensure the safety and security of their citizens with the help of Police. “Policing” is just like teaching and medicine which has intimate connections with the society, social progress, social change, social life. The major role of police is to maintain law and order, maintain the peace in the society through surveillance of the public, and then subsequently report and apprehend the suspected violators of the law. They also discourage crimes by keeping vigil on crimes and also by possessing the investigation power into such crimes. In a democracy like India the role of police is very important unlike that in dictatorial or autocratic governments where police are symbolised as terrorists. The objectives of a democracy, like India, are to be achieved by the mutual cooperation of politicians and Police. This cooperation in a right manner would result into an ideal state where no individual is at distress and grief. However, human greed recognises nothing. This cooperation between police and politicians is famous for all wrong reasons. The politicians in order to maintain their position need money and muscle power. Once the politicians reach that stature, they tend to dictate terms to police and as a result they fail to perform their duties. Police need political support for smooth advancement in their career. The bond between them becomes stronger and stronger and ultimately they find it difficult to survive without each other. Over the last decades, various political parties have tried to politicize the police force and prevented them from enforcing law. The police force has lost its effectiveness in many parts of the country.
The demolition of Babri Masjid in December 1992 is a striking example. The police forces are conditioned to obey their political masters rather than the law. When there is power and discretion, there is always possibility of misuse. When the chief minister of Bihar, Rabri Devi and Lalloo Prasad Yadav’s daughter got married, 45 brand new cars were forcibly taken from Patna showrooms, over 100 sofa sets and furniture were also taken from the shops. No one dared to complain about them. This is the life style of our Messiah politicians. The police are also not behind in posing themselves as criminals. Notwithstanding the vital role of police in India, there have been various instances of police exceeding their powers and breaking of laws leading to public unrest and loss of faith of public on police, thus, acting as a greatest threat to the rule of law in India. There have been instances of police atrocities and police attitude of undermining the law of land, posing threat to the democracy and the rule of law. There have been various instances of police atrocities where no rule of law is followed, what is expected is not delivered. A bright example can be the famous Ruchika Girhotra case of 1990 where a fourteen year girl was molested by a senior IPS officer, leading to her eventual suicide due to the harassment posed by the police. This incident clearly shows the abuse of power and disobedience of law by the upholders themselves. Another example is the famous Mathura rape case where a tribal girl was raped by policemen in the premises of the police station itself. There is a list of instances where police have tortured the innocent public by misusing their power and abusing the law. There have been instances of police atrocities in remand, police refusing to file in complaints and thereby harassing people, police catching hold of innocents in a certain case to show arrests etc.
Corruption is one of the most serious threat to the development and internal security of a country. It has become rampant in our society. Corruption is generally the use of public power for private profits in a way that constitutes a breach of law or social norms. It exists in every society. Corruption continues to show an increasing trend in India. The latest scandals have shaken the entire political-economic system of our country. Firstly, in Adarsh scam, the buildings which were meant for Kargil war widows have been divided up between politicians and bureaucrats at very low prices. The former chief minister of Maharastra Ashok Chavan had played a major role in the scam. Secondly, in 2G spectrum case, A.Raja, the former telecom minister is the prime accused. He did not follow the Government’s ‘first come first serve’ policy in its real sense and went out of the way to favor certain telecom companies. He caused a loss of 1.76 lakh crore to the Government. It is evident that the politicians are doing nothing but serving themselves. The politicians ignore the rule of law to pursue their own agenda. “ The new dharma of private good at the expense of the state has over time won wider acceptability. It no more excites passions. No more the media pundits expend their righteous indignation over such exemplary tales of greed and craft”. Many elected legislators have criminal cases against them. In July 2008, Washington Times reported that nearly a fourth of the 540 Indian Parliament members faced criminal charges, "including human trafficking, immigration rackets, embezzlement, rape and even murder". The corruption practices by the police also pose a threat. The police in today’s society are mainly known for their corrupt ways which are practised by a constable to a senior officer, all under the roof of “Corruption”. Corruption binds the police and the politicians with the same thread. It is viewed that the current procedure of fund raising for elections can, on the face of it be the biggest of political corruption and from political corruption flows a variety of other corruptions in a democratic country like, India. It is also said that corruption is more rampant in police and revenue services because the politicians use them as milch cows for election funds. The level of corruption among politicians and police has reached such an extent that they have aided even smuggling of arms during riots.
The politicians, police and criminal nexus in India has resulted in loss of principles of the rule of law. Rule of law which is the primary pillar of a democracy is being shaken by such a nexus. The politicians who are elected are expected to work for those in grief and not for their own greed. This is what is not observed. Promises that are made during elections are never kept. The poor and the needy get swayed away by such promises, and thereby lose their most powerful weapon of voting. Once power is achieved, greed of the politicians overpowers the problems of the citizens. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, this phrase aptly explains the behaviour of our politicians. The politicians misuse their power and position for their personal gain. The police which is expected to protect the rights and property of the citizens has reversed its role. If the protectors themselves turn into predators then who should the citizens turn to for “Help”. Police with the support of politicians twist and break the law according to their own will. Their ideal role is to follow the law and work accordingly but a reverse attitude is observed where the police serve their political masters and work according to their orders, thereby, undermining the rule of law. They do this in order to pursue their own interests and serve the interests of their political masters. If any one of them dares to oppose them then they are threatened with transfers, clearly reflecting the abuse of power by the political masters.
The famous Godhra riots can be the best example of police serving their political masters in breaking the rule of law and following the rule of will of the politicians with no concern whatsoever to the basic human rights of citizens. The police had a negative and communal attitude towards these riots. In many cases they failed to respond to rescue calls and in some cases they were silent watchers of the violence. They also indicted mobs and supported violent attacks. Such self-centered acts by the protectors of life and security creates an attitude of disbelief among citizens regarding police and politicians thereby defeating the rule of law i.e. creating an attitude of disbelief among the people towards the power of law. There are various instances of such nature where the rule of law is ignored, some reported while others unreported, the list continues. The nexus between politicians, police and criminals turns the law according to their own will. Presentation of a case in court by the police against any politician is generally controlled by the master himself. This leads to presentation of a weaker case thereby twisting the law in their favour. The greed of the politicians who are vested with law making authority takes over welfare of the people and laws that favour their interests are rapidly passed. The corruption practiced by such nexus adversely affects the innocent. The Adarsh scam and the 2G spectrum case are to name a few. Activities of politicians like Mayawati building statues, parks etc shows how people’s money is being used extravagantly by such politicians over frivolous things for fulfilling their interests. These kind of corrupt activities heavily affect the paying pockets as well the emotions of the citizens.
Such nexus between politicians, police and crime have changed the attitude of people towards police and politicians. They fear that if they approach any police authority for help they have to pay bribe for the help or may be subjected to serious mental and physical torture and hence several instances go unreported. Common people fear reporting against the influential as they know that the protection mechanism provided by law has weakened because the protectors no more serve the law, they serve their greed. The people, by and large, regard the police as agents and mouthpieces of the parties in power who can terrorise and do all unjust and unlawful things. The people in general believe that members of the police force are incompetent, cruel and corrupt and have no will of their own. They have departed from their moral values and function mostly for their personal and selfish ends and serve their political masters. This notion that has been created in the minds of the citizens clearly indicates that the rule of law has been defeated. The citizens have lost their faith in public institutions. The makers and the upholders of law have handled law according to their own will, thereby defeating the rule of law and upholding the rule of their own whims and fancies. A gradual disbelief towards law will lead to disobedience of law among individuals, thereby, defeating the spirit of democracy and law in India. Such nexus has made law the playing field of a few rich people and has taken it away from the reach of common people.
Corruption severely undermines national, social and economic development. Indeed, corruption often leads to national collapse. Corruption has led to bad roads and decaying infrastructure, inadequate medical services, poor educational standards and disappearance of foreign aid and foreign loans. In order to uphold the rule of law the roots of corruption have to be eradicated. This can be done by making the system more transparent. This step may have its own disadvantages but looking at the brighter side transparency in the system seems to be a better option. Transparency can be achieved by making people aware of the decisions taken by the politicians and asking them to play a role in such decision-making process. This would make the politicians more accountable and the fear of law can be imbibed in them. Certain amendments are needed such as prescribing minimum educational qualifications for any one to be eligible as a politician thereby reducing influx of politicians with criminal background like Shibu Shoren, into the system and hence saving the political system from the shadow of crime. The rule of law can be protected by increasing the powers of the judiciary. The judiciary should be given more powers to scrutinize the acts of the politicians. They should be made more observant towards the political system and should be treated at par with the parliamentarians. Making the judiciary more powerful and responsible will increase the fear of law among the wrong-doer politicians making them think twice before acting contrary to law and twisting the same. The judiciary may be empowered to make certain laws relating to the welfare of the people. These steps may in some sense defeat the principles of democracy but welfare of people is supreme law. Agencies like CBI should be made free from the clutches of politicians for their proper and effective functioning.
Police should be made more accountable towards the general public. They should be made aware of their duties towards the society and should be kept independent of politicians’ influence so that they can work freely and fearlessly.
India, being the largest democracy in the world, has to take certain stringent steps to break such nexus between the politicians, police and criminals. The main steps are to be taken up by the citizens who have been given the power to choose their own government. A proper choice exercised by them will lead to a better future. The politicians should be made to understand that it is the law that rules them and not vice-versa. The “rule of law” has to be always upheld whatever may be the circumstances.
Thus, from the instances mentioned above it can be clearly seen that there is a visible nexus between the politicians, police and criminals which needs to be broken at the earliest so as to protect the objective of Rule of Law.
# C.K.TAKWANI, LECTURES ON ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, 16-17(3rd ed.2003)
# A.RANGA REDDY, DIMENSIONS OF CRIME AND CORRUPTION IN INDIA 84(1ed.2005).
# Supriya Bharadwaj, Ruchika Girhotra Case: Molestation of Minor, Abuse of power, Times Of India, December 23, 2009
# Indira Jaising, Slamming The Doors Of Justice on Women, Indian Express, January 20, 1999
# Rajshri Mehta, Adarsh Society Scam: Deshmukh, Shinde, Rane are all in it too, DNA, October 31, 2010
# Rajesh Ahuja, ED To Grill Radia, Hindustan Times, November 24, 2010
# MATHUR KRISHNA MOHAN, POLICE LAW AND INTERNAL SECURITY 119-120(1ed.1994).
# Emily Wax, With Indian Politics The bad Gets Worse, Washington Times, July 24, 2008
# M.P.SINGH, POLICE PROBLEMS AND DILEMMAS IN INDIA 279(1ed.1989)
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