Crimes and unsolved cases rising, white paper calls for policy changes to prevent deteriorating law and order in Mumbai
Geetanjali Minhas | December 6, 2012
The latest white paper released by the NGO Praja Foundation on the state of crime in Mumbai city presents a rather black picture. Data reveals that while law and order situation has remained more or less the same for the past few years, investigation, crime-solving, trial and conviction, and a rise in heinous crimes, leave a lot to be desired. Crimes like rape, molestation, accidents and stolen vehicles have grown consistently and road accidents have doubled.
While cases of theft and murder dropped between 2008 and 2012, crimes against women have shot up. Between 2008-09 and 2011-12, cases of rape increased by 7 percent and molestation by 34 percent, says the white paper. While cases of vehicle theft increased by 14 percent during this period, there was a 100-percent increase in accidents, including fatal mishaps.
The data sourced through RTI queries also show that north-central Mumbai, comprising Vile Parle, Kurla and Bandra, was found to be most unsafe for women, children and senior citizens. But MLAs representing these constituencies have asked the lowest number of questions on crime (65) in the state assembly between April 2011 and March 2012.
“It is shocking to learn that of 1,61,528 cases that went to trial, acquittal rate was a shocking 83 percent,” says Nitai Mehta, founder-trustee of Praja Foundation, which released the white paper.
The data reveals that of these total cases, 44,874 were serious offences that went into trial during the period, while judgment was pronounced in only 3,275 cases. Conviction was made in only 335 cases, and 90 percent prosecution cases (in all 3,275) were acquitted.
Out of total 71,425 cases filed in Mumbai during 2011-12 fiscal year, 18 percent are related to serious offences. Of this, only 45 percent cases were sent for trial and the rest are pending investigation, the white paper says. Accused in only 10 percent cases that went into trial got conviction worth the crime committed.
Investigations were completed in 7 percent cases. Of these, 31 percent were found to be true but were not detected (cases in which charge sheet was not filed but investigation completed; also known as Statement A or in police terms ‘case true but not detected’), 65 percent cases were sent up for trial.
In 2011, a total of 12,762 cases were investigated of which investigation was completed in 6,515 cases. Ten percent of these 6,515 cases were found to be ‘true but not detected’ and 87 percent were sent for trial. Investigations for 49 percent of 12,762 cases registered in 2011 or prior are still pending.
In 2011, out of a total of 1,61,528 cases in courts, trial in only 8 percent cases was completed. Of these, 17 percent were convicted while the rest were acquitted. Ninety-two percent of the total cases sent for trial in 2011 or prior are pending judgments.
Severe shortage of sanctioned police personnel and diversion of staff on ‘bandobast or nakabandi duties’ are affecting operation of work and leading to overburden of work for the existing workforce, according to the white paper. While staff shortage in traffic police came down from 49 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2012, control room was short of 53 per cent staff than required, or 145 officers, as on July 31, 2012.
Investigations usually conducted by police officers of sub-inspector (SI) rank take a hit because of shortage of 60 percent SIs. There is staff shortage of 27 percent for the post of assistant commissioners of police.
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