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Delhi Police chalks out plan to train cops for new draft laws

Sep 09, 2023 10:11 PM IST

They will be trained in three phases based on seniority — high-ranking officers, mid-rank officers, and staff in police stations — followed by a test

The Union government, during the monsoon session of Parliament, introduced three bills to replace India’s colonial-era legal framework — Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (to replace the Indian Penal Code), the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Bill (to replace the Evidence Act).

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that a blueprint of batches and trainers is being prepared to instruct the police. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that a blueprint of batches and trainers is being prepared to instruct the police. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

These bills have been sent to a parliamentary standing committee for scrutiny and discussion, and might not be implemented before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. However, senior Delhi Police officers have been asked to train their subordinates to ready them for changes in sections and clauses of the new framework, people aware of the development said.

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The people said that all officials will be trained in three phases based on seniority — starting with high-ranking officers, followed by mid-rank officers up to deputy commissioner of police rank, and finally, the staff in police stations. It will be mandatory for officers of all ranks to clear a test after the training, the people said.

A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that a blueprint of batches and trainers is being prepared to instruct the police.

“To the best of our knowledge, only some changes have been suggested to the basic structure of criminal law. But we have to keep ourselves updated about it. The Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code are procedural laws and changes in them will take some time for anyone to understand. At present, most of our workforce are busy managing the safety and security for the upcoming G20 Summit. So, the fixtures and batches for the training will be decided after this event,” he said.

But the bills, if passed as law after scrutiny, will throw up some basic challenges, even at the level of applying sections for crimes. In IPC, for example, Section 302 and Section 420 are among the most well-known as they deal with murder and cheating. Under the proposed Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita , 302 stands for snatching (murder is now 99, and punishment for the crime are laid down in 101), and 420 does not exist (cheating is now 316).

A second Delhi Police officer aware of the development said the force will organise training programmes and workshops.

“The police headquarters will issue detailed circulars highlighting the changes in the IPC, CrPC and the Evidence Act, which will act as a guide for the police force. Creation of training infrastructure is already in the pipeline. We are also identifying in-house resource personnel, who are experts in law and can train others. External resource persons like judges, retired judges, senior criminal lawyers, legal luminaries will also be outsourced for the training purpose,” he said, asking not to be named.

Deputy commissioner of police (public relations) Suman Nalwa said, “Apart from educating Delhi Police officers, we will also update or change some of the software used in police investigations,” she said.

Whenever there is a new law, police officers are trained about it. In addition, police personnel also appear in annual examination for their time-bound promotion, but the pass percentage in this test is less than 50%, officers aware of the matter said.

According to lawyers, despite having several merits, the draft bills need consultation of all the stakeholders such as the police, prosecutors and courts; and the new laws will be a challenge to master for enforcement agencies, if and when implemented.

Former Delhi Police joint commissioner BK Singh, who is now a practising Supreme Court lawyer, said that a number of new provisions have been brought in under the draft code. “It is a welcome step as punishment for crimes such as lynching and snatching have been introduced under this draft code. But learning and being trained in the new laws will be an enormous and challenging process for Delhi Police, where the pass percentage in the annual examinations for timebound promotion is not very encouraging,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    In his reporting career of over 20 years, Sanjeev K Jha has covered bureaucracy, politics, ISI activities in border areas, music and Bollywood. Presently, he covers crime in the national Capital.

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