Issues in policing
POLICING INDIA IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM: P. J. Alexander; Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 751, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002. Price not mentioned.
NEARLY 2300 years ago Alexander, the Great, exclaimed, "if I were not Alexander I would be Diogenes". The author of this great tome is a police officer, who should have been, had he not joined the police, a great political philosopher.
How do you describe a book containing the quintessential thoughts of some of the greatest Indian minds of this century diagnosing the diseases disfiguring the criminal justice system and in despair, lamenting "Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey" unless the rot is stopped in time and an effective pharmacopoeia produced.
We have an exhaustive analysis of the criminal justice system, its distortions and the steady erosion of Rule of Law, now acquiring alarming proportions and calling for surgical intervention.
All the contributors are the best minds dealing with public administration, thinkers, teachers, judges, technical specialists and together have produced a little over a thousand pages of pure jewels for reforming the police and putting our democracy on a firm footing. It is a road map unveiling a large number of issues and radical solutions.
The pleasing side of these writings is an emphasis that people have to be associated with this effort and without that nothing will be achieved.
Hard and determined efforts are the first steps. Bad habits do not die soon. Many things have to be undone. Successive Police Commissions and Law Commissions have offered transient cosmetics, which have disappeared with the first shower. The slogan is, old Omar Khayam's favourite lines:
Would thou and I with fate conspire,
Grasp the sorry scheme of things entire,
Shatter into bits and then remould it
Nearer to our hearts' desire.
Our hearts' desire is equal justice for all without delay. Every word in this book is meant to take us to achieve that objective enshrined in the Constitution. Various aspects of policing have been discussed at length. One aspect that is missing is how to induce the judiciary to take a more active role.
Prosecutors, even if a case is successfully investigated and brought to court, are unable to meet the onslaught of the opposing counsel.
Carlyle wrote: "A barrister is like a blunderbuss and if you hire it you can blow your enemy's brains; if he hires it first, he blows out your brains."
Our experience in this country is that the best barristers are ranged against the indigent prosecutor! Should the judge be a distant umpire or how do we harness the legal profession to strengthen social defence?
This collection of essays is only as Alexander says "The alpha or the beginning." It is for others to follow up. It is a great work of love involving enormous scholarship and labour, strangely by a policeman, an oxymoron! Every policeman worth his salt should buy this book and read it. All administrators should grab this book. Then the silent revolution will begin.
V. R. LAKSHMINARAYANAN
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