Should the police disclose the weekly progress of cases to the complainants?
Just before leaving the office on retirement, Mr. K Subramanyam, the Director General of Police of Maharashtra, asked his police force to dedicate a few hours every week to complainants who want to know the progress of their cases. He sent this proposal on June 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. and Mr. Arup Patnaik, Mumbai Police Commissioner, ordered his force on July 21 to start a Grievances Redressal Day on every Sunday. Mr. K Subramanyam has retired on July 31.
It has been directed that all the investigation officers shall be present in the police station between 10 AM and 11.30 AM every Sunday to meet the complainants and provide answers to their queries. If the investigation officers are absent or are unable to provide the required information, the complainants can approach senior police inspectors. It has been directed to put up a board at the Police stations so that people can meet the concerned investigation officers and know the status of their cases.
It is expected that functioning of such a cell would enable availability of information easily to the complainants, thereby reducing the need to file an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Such a pro-active disclosure is welcome, and calls are likely to be made to replicate it in other parts of the country. However, it is not clear whether anyone has given a deep thought to the number of on job hours put in by the understaffed and over-worked policemen.