Over the last week, the whole country has been embroiled in understanding the nitty gritty of the well-established law and procedure. The social media and its well-established brethren, the electronic media, were trying to fathom it out in their own way. The created nebulous nature of laws, for vested interests, has to be dispelled once and for all. The all-pervasive criminality in the system has added an element of fear or indifference or both amongst the different stakeholders. That has brought down the capability of the regular police to perform their investigative responsibilities with objectivity and expertise. Might be their dealing with day-to-day investigation in the politico police ecosystem have muted them to a level that they cannot rise to the challenge in a crisis.
This status quo helped the powers that be and the vested interests in the criminal justice system for a long time, to the extent that this has become the norm. It is only monumental pressure that is able to move the wheels of justice in the first lap, and by the time it reaches the last lap, only the victim can tell you what it means. Our system does not even provide time and comfort to mourn, leave aside fanciful ideas of getting justice delivered, in cases where the state is the party. Like the railways in the second half of the nineteenth century, which united this country, there is one case, one India sort of a movement, we have been experiencing over the last one week. There are many chinks in police armour, which have been in public display for long. Is that the right way forward?
The current case is neither the first nor will it be the last one. People who have not seen the covers of law books have become experts in the public domain from journalists to politicians to celebs. While the law in this context remains the sole domain of the police, prosecutors, lawyers and judges, can a democratic citizenry remain completely oblivious of law, which makes a difference between sanity and insanity in his existence. While Penal and Procedure Codes and police and investigation manuals can remain for the experts and police, its high time the investigation SOPs needs to be brought in the public domain. The country needs to know the sequence of activities which is mandated to take place in murder investigation. The same will apply to all cases, which impacts the people on a day-to-day basis.
From JCBs to summons to manhunts to kid gloves, all cannot be the arsenal of the police while investigating the same genre of cases.* Democracy is all about inbuilt transparency and predictability of the system. Fluidity kills. Public domain Standard Operating Procedures, will bring a method in the madness and would be a check on the vested interests exploiting the system. Known procedures, documented and legally executable, will bring the comfort level to the people to a totally different level. RTI as a tool cannot be of any utility. Can India afford to lose time, energy and cost all at the expense of the taxpayer to run a non-delivery system? A simple straight investigation would have saved the country from this agony and shame.
IMPLEMENTABLE INVESTIGATION STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES ( SOPs) IS THE LEGAL RIGHT OF EVERY CITIZEN.