A police station without a manual may sound strange but it is exactly the situation across the state.
Most of the police stations in Bihar do not have copies of the Police Manual, 1978, considered to be the Bible for the men in uniform. The situation is more pathetic in newly created police stations and the town police outposts, the first post for the general masses to seek justice.
The result is that the policemen are ignorant of the sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to be implied in the complaints lodged by victims. “When full-fledged police stations do not have it, what to talk of the town police outposts?” said an outpost-in-charge in Patna.
The startling fact came to the fore during a review meeting of police officers in Darbhanga zone last week. Inspector-general Arvind Pandey was shocked to learn that most of the police stations did not have a copy of the manual. Pandey said: “When I sought to know about the recent amendments in the existing laws such as Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, most of the officials in the rank of deputy superintendent of police, inspector and sub-inspector of police were at a loss.”
“Soon after the meeting, I issued an advisory asking all the station house officers, inspectors and the deputy superintendents of police under my jurisdiction to have a copy of the manual,” he said.
He instructed the officers to procure a copy of the manual within 10 days of receipt of the advisory. The advisory said a copy of the manual was available at the office of the Purnea superintendent of police. “Non-availability of the copy of the Police Manual will be construed as a violation of the order and invite disciplinary action,” the missive reads.
Additional director-general (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar claimed that copies of the manual (all three parts) have been issued to all police offices across the state.
“If the copies are not available, the senior officers should take initiative to locate them,” he added.
K.K. Jha, an office-bearer of the Bihar Police Association, said he had raised the issue during a meeting with chief minister Nitish Kumar on December 31, 2005.
“I had produced the copies of the Police Manual printed at the government press (Guljarbagh) and also that by a private firm. While the former costs Rs 15 only, the latter was sold for Rs 1,500. Nitish was shocked to know that the wife of a senior IPS officer (now retired) had played an important role in getting the copies printed at a private printing press,” he said.