Sunday, 14 January 2018 | PNS | Dehradun –
In an important ruling bearing on the 60 per cent area of Uttarakhand, mostly in the hill areas, the Nainital High Court ordered the abolition of the revenue police system, started way back in 1861 by then British India government, while asking the state government to replace revenue police with regular police in six months.
The court cited the inefficiency of the revenue police in curbing crimes as the pattern of crimes is undergoing a sea- change and the revenue police are making a mess of investigation, resulting in the acquittal of the guilty in most of the cases.
Mention worthy, Uttarakhand has a dual policing system since the erstwhile British Government had introduced revenue police in 1861 with the creation of three posts like Revenue Inspector, Revenue Sub-Inspector and a fourth class employee for collecting revenue from the residents and also for checking crimes and maintaining law and order in the mountainous parts.
While around 40 per cent of the state’s territory is under the jurisdiction of regular police the rest is under the revenue police. However, the system had been introduced when crimes happened rarely in the hill areas. Presently, things have changed with spike in crimes and with the nature of the crimes changing with time with the advent of cyber crimes. And as a section of the people of the hill areas are demanding replacement of revenue police with regular police the successive state governments have been setting up regular police stations in many of the crime –prone areas in the hills. However, the government’s move gets thwarted as a large section of the highlanders resists it, saying that regular police would make a mess of their lives accustomed as they are to the revenue police system for ages.
Observers opine that the “century old practice” of revenue police system is unique to the hill areas of the state where the revenue department officials double as the police. Significantly, the dual policing system is surviving only in Uttarakhand. It means that in case the High Court’s ruling is acted upon-it seems to be imminent-the state would lose a unique identity that has been thriving for many years. “However, the inevitable is happening. The system must be done away with, as the people of the whole state should be brought under the same policing system which has trained personnel, equipped with the required tools and arms, to deal with the changing pattern of crimes,” said an observer.
The court’s order came in the wake of a case of a dowry death at Gwana Patti Dangar village in Tehri district. The father of the deceased had registered a complaint with the revenue police at Hisyari on December 23, 2011, stating that his daughter had been killed for dowry by her in-laws. Lower court had sentenced life imprisonment to the accused on December 21, 2012. Those convicted of the crime had moved High Court against the life imprisonment awarded by a district court in Tehri. The division bench of the High Court Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Alok Singh said that the investigation on the part of the revenue police was faulty. The court observed that the old revenue police system was obsolete.
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