'Police have no right to kill anyone'

Ved Marwah, former police commissioner of Delhi, and former governor of Manipur and Jharkhand, spoke to Shemin Joy of Deccan Herald on police encounters.

 Excerpts: 
On SC verdict:This is a problem which we have inherited from colonial period. It is also connected to getting medals. Sometimes fake encounters are done to get medals. So, SC judgement has, in a way, put the spotlight on this problem and one cannot disagree with what the SC has said. It has given the direction because the police cannot be given the right to kill anybody. After all, they are the investigators and they are not there to decide whether someone is guilty or innocent. 

The problem is linked to the functioning of the criminal justice system. Former chief justice of India R S Lodha has also mentioned that he is pained at the manner in which the criminal justice system is functioning. Conviction is becoming almost an impossible task against people with all muscle and money power.

If the criminals can commit crime without fear, that leads to a tremendous sense of insecurity. Also, the Court should have had a look at this aspect. The improvement in the capacity of the police to do their job. If a system does not help them in enforcing it, then there is a problem. So, taking just one aspect of the problem would not sort out the issue. Fake encounter is only one part of the problem.

It is linked to other problems which also need to be tackled. I see the SC verdict in a positive light as far as the fake encounter goes. But it won't solve the problem. 
On image of police taking a beating with nearly every encounter (especially in the eyes of the media):That is one aspect. But there is also social sanction for encounters. If a criminal is killed in fake encounter, public support is there. 
On the police facing criticism:It faces criticism either way. It faces criticism when there is encounter. It also faces criticism when they cannot control criminals. 
On how to control trigger-happy cops:One can say you cannot support fake encounters. That I have said in the beginning that police cannot be given the right to take anybody's life irrespective of the crime he has committed. But at the same time, I said that this insecurity of the ordinary citizen can be tackled only if other problems are tackled.
On measures needed to curb encounters:You make police professionally functioning, autonomous force. Secondly, it should be monitored at every step. Posting, promotion, transfers should be based on performance. It should be made the hand maiden of the ruling political party. 
On reducing number of encounters now compared to mid-2000s:Even one encounter is a disgrace for a society. There is no scope for any fake encounters. Merely the numbers going down is not enough.

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