(Sample Material) Gist of IIPA Journal: Law and Order: A Precondition for Good Governance O.P. Tandon

(Sample Material) Gist of Important Articles from IIPA Journal

Topic: Law and Order: A Precondition for Good Governance O.P. Tandon


Maintenance of order implies a certain measure of peace and avoidance of violence of any kind. If public order is deemed to have been upset, a variety of factors are responsible for it. To mention a few, dire poverty with economic explosion and unequal distribution of wealth; increasing unemployment; mounting inflation and spiraling prices with diminishing purchasing power; population exodus from rural to urban areas resulting in rapid urban growth rate with a concentration of organised protest groups in urban areas like employees, industrial workers, political groups, students, etc., increased inter-group conflicts on account of religion, language, caste, etc.; religious fundamentalism with recrudescence of sectarian/communal riots, divisive and fissiparous tendencies; etc. Act of terrorism, insurgency and growth of unfriendly border countries has added new dimension to the law support of unfriendly border countries has added new dimension to the law and order problems of the country. In the last few years, instability of governments in the states and the Centre have contributed to serious ramifications. For India, problems of governance are likely to be more complex in times to come. Effects of globalisation, economic development and socio-economic factors are likely to create problems in its own way, resulting in no respite for the law enforcement agencies. Insurgent and ethic violence will have to be assigned priority on the agenda of the law enforcers. More so, the nuclear explosions conducted by India and Pakistan recently resulting in imposition of economic sanctions by the United States, etc., has further created imbalance in the regional geographical system and may contribute to creating some ugly situations on the borders, unless the vigilance on various fronts is strengthened.

Crime in India Rise in Violent Crimes

Maintenance of law and order is perceived as the foundation for a democratic system of government in any civilized and developed society. For governance, all laws stem out of Constitution of India but the origin of our structured legal system in the country dates back to 1860. For maintenance of law, public order and peace, three major and governing laws were enacted. These are The Indian Penal Code 1860, The Indian Evidence Act 1872 and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (amended in 1973). The legal system is now more than a century old. After Independence, to realise the constitutional obligations under the Articles, with particular reference to ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’, several special laws and local laws have been enacted from time to meet the growing crime prevention needs.

Population is one of the major factors influencing crime incidence. There is a positive correlation between the growth in incidence and the population of the country. There has been an almost underlining upward trend in the overall crime situation in the country. According to figures on Crime in India in 1995 about 60 lakh cognizable crimes were reported in the Country in 1995 as against 6.5 lakh IPC offences in 1951. The incidence to total cognizable crimes in 1995 increased by 33.7 percent over 1985 with a compound growth rate of 2.4 percent per annum. Even more significant is the fact that “violent crime” has shown a consistently increasing trend. Violent crimes constituting 14.5 percent of the total IPC crimes were reported during 1995. Compared to 1994, such crimes recorded an increase of 4.3 percent.

Violence by Militants and Urban Crimes

The violent crimes increased substantially from 8.2 percent in 1953 to 14.5 percent in 1995. The incidence of murder in 1995 increased by 44.3 percent over the decade 1985-95, while kidnapping and abduction went up by 27.3 percent over the decade (1985-95). It is significant that cases under the Arms Act and the Explosives Substances Act, have gone up substantially during this period—10,146 in 196 to 62,025 in 1991. The situation is further aggravated by militant violence in Jammu & Kashmir, insurgency in the North-Eastern State and Leftist extremist violence in parts of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. With the access of these elements to highly lethal automatic and semi-automatic weapons, explosives—including RDX, and plastic explosives—and remove control devices has further compounded the situation with added grimness.
Urban crime scenario is to be viewed differently from the rural crime. Urbanisation, influenced by population increase, unchecked migration, and heightened industrial activities give rise to rapid growth in economic activities and unorganized settlements. Lack of opportunities, uneven distribution of incomes, and diverse socio-religio-cultural disparities make urban areas a breeding ground for criminal activities. Organised groups, professional criminal, youth and juveniles find crime a thriving vocation in urban environment. An analysis of urban population reveals that against an increase of 23.9 percent in total population of the country during the decade of 1981-91, the increase in urban population was much higher at 36.4 percent. Accordingly, the increase in urban crime is much higher as compared to rural crime.

Ethenic and Communal Violence Ethno-Nationalist Violence

The most potent threat commonly faced by a number of industrialized and majority of developing nations today is the ‘intra-state’ conflicts arising out of factors underlying the process of nation-state building. Europe is witnessing unprecedented violence since 1945. The ongoing terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland is now in its third decade. The breakdown of the Soviet Union into number republics and emergence of three independent republics and possibility of one or two more republics emerging out of Yugoslavia have given a fillip to various ethno-nationalist groups elsewhere to press their demands.

This is followed by problems of sub-national identities arising out of religious, sectarian, linguistic, radial and ethnic differences among population living within a state. Even within a religion, sectarian differences have served to generate intense antagonisms. Sectarian difference is the root cause of the problem of Northern Ireland. The large-scale killing by GIA (the armed Islamic group) of nearly 1000 men, women and children in Relizance province of Algeria in the holy months of Ramazan in January 1998 was shocking. It was alleged that in some instance, when killings took place, the security forces developed there did not come into action to pursue the killing.

Communal Violence

In India the problem of communal violence is endemic, Bipin Chandra, a historian of great repute, in an article captioned “Communalism—The Way Out” has observed, “Communalism is not the main communal riots or communal violence, Certainly, communal violence is linked to communal ideology. Communalism can prevail even without violence but communal violence cannot exist without communal ideology”. Communal violence or riots are the main forms of product of communal tension. Communal violence needs to be distinguished from communal prejudice and communal conflict. Prejudice, conflict and violence are inter-related, one leads to the other and yet these three expressions have a separate identity of their own. They represent three different stages from initial to highest distortion of communalism respectively.

Srikrishan Commission Report on the communal riots which shook Mumbai in December 1992 and January 1993 has examined in detail the causes of progressive breakdown of law and order machinery. Irrespective of their political or religious affiliations, one thing that the people commonly experienced during 1992-93 riots was various manifestations of disorder, and the most serious were political and criminal terror and collapse of the authority of the state. There were immediate and long-term causes and the government failed to intervene effectively at a critical juncture. Four days were lost by the political leadership considering deploying the Army when its use was imperative. Precautionary and preventive measures taken by the police were inadequate and the intelligence machinery and apparatus of the police failed. The response of police to appeals from desperate victims was cynical and entirely indifferent. The perception of a ‘partisan’ attitude of the police against a particular community and the unsatisfactory investigation of the riot-related offences have been highlighted by the Commission. These indictments needs be examined by a high-powered committee of senior bureaucrats/police officers by the Ministry of Home affairs and action taken to incorporate these in training syllabi not only of the police officers but the administrative officers as well, thereby creating the desired ‘responsiveness’.

Terrorism and Insurgency

Terrorism and insurgency—the two major challenges faces by the country in the post-Independence era have—been responsible for creating hindrances in good governance. Till the 1970s, there was hardly any evidence of a strong ethnic movement or religious conflict in Punjab. The culmination of the process was emergence of Sant Bhindrawale as a major force in Punjab politics in early 1980s. In the course of more than a decade of terrorist violence, over 12,000 persons were killed. Between 1988 and 1991 an average of more than if not completely wiped out, was effectively controlled by the state police and para-military forces of the country. In Kashmir, anti-India feelings and the anti-India movement have existed ever since Independence. There is a attempt to revive the movement for self-determination and simultaneous rise of Islamic fundamentalism and separatists sentiments. A substantial involvement of Pakistan and its Inter Services Intelligence agency with the extended support by other Pan Islamic countries have led to marked deterioration in the law and order situation. Unprecedented militant activity has been witnessed in Kashmir Valley, which now was getting extended to Bhaderwal and Kishtwar towns of Doda district and Udhampur of Jammu region. During August 1998, the massacre of 351 labourers in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, indicates the accessibility of the militants in newer areas, which had so far been untouched and is a definitive proof that Pakistan’s covert war in this country was not limited to particular areas or ethnic groups. Pakistan’s belligerence across the Line of Control would certainly be stepped up to heighten international concern about Kashmir. The crucial need of the hour is the setting up of an overall command with dedicated expertise. Our country is fighting a war with a new dimension and this cannot be effectively fought when the efforts of different Central and state agencies continued to be compartmentalized and scattered.

Violence by Militants in North-East

In the north-eastern region, large parts remained distributed on account of high level of militant activities in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura. In Assam, ULFA violence is touching new heights. The ULFA militants have significantly changed their strategy and have been attacking and blowing up oil pipelines. Unlike their previous attacks, which were aimed at liquidating their so called “political opponents”, this strategy signifies the motive to debatilise the state’s economy. Since oil is the main revenue corner for Assam, the ULFA must have reasoned that the best way to combat the state might be targeting vital economic installations. The development rate in Assam has come down to a party 0.87percent from 1.67 percent in 1987 in 10 years. Around 36 percent of the state population still lives below the poverty line. The pace of industrialization has reached the rock-bottom except for the periodic growth of the tea industry. The tea companies have been held to ransom. Inter-linked insurgency movements aided and abetted by external forces, particularly Pakistan, with continued Upgradation of supply of sophisticated weapons from across the border had put heavy pressure on the law enforcement agencies.

Leftist Extremism and Caste Senas

The profile of violence of Left Wing extremism is equally disturbing. In five state, i.e., Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, Peoples War Group has been responsible for large-scale killings, particularly its confrontationist posture towards the police and carry out targeted attacks on government property—by extensive use of IDE/landmines besides continued resort to kidnapping of politicians. Caste Senas of the forward and backward castes have indulged in a conflict for supremacy in some of the states, particularly Bihar.

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