Rights panel chief says police must not mediate in realty disputes

Meera C Saxena, the Chairperson of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), has cautioned police against playing mediators in real estate disputes.

Speaking at a workshop on human rights, gender equality and human trafficking and human and environmental rights, organised jointly by the KSHRC, the police, Global Concerns India, and Justice and Care, she made some relevant remarks about increasing property prices.

Equating the system of policemen playing mediators with the gram panchayat system that has ceased to exist, Saxena said: “Police offer to mediate in such disputes as according to them justice may be delayed in the event of such cases ending up in courts. Ensuring that no parties are at a loss, they try to maintain a balance and also get a pie of the deal.”

She said that when the panchayat system had been replaced with the rule of law to ensure that justice prevails, why should police go for out-of-court settlement. She said that police tend to favour the rich against the poor in land disputes and men against women in domestic discords.

Saxena said police must instil a sense of freedom in people. “In the existing scenario, history-sheeters and anti-social elements walk into police stations without any fear, while common and innocent people still fear to knock at the door of police,” she said.

Referring to the victims of police atrocities, she said: “Most of them say police threaten to frame them in false cases. When police struggle to solve genuine cases, do they need to open false ones?”
Referring to sexual assaults on women and children, the KSHRC chairperson stopped short of advocating stringent measures taken by some Muslim countries but did support harsh punishment for the culprits.

Mangaluru Police Commissioner T R Suresh gave a brief account of the steps taken to ensure people friendly policing. He mentioned the weekly phone-in programme, the special juvenile police unit to deal with crimes by minors, the women’s help desks at police stations with policewomen as nodal officers, and the cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.

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