Legal Guidelines Issued by Government About Police Encounter Investigations

Legal Guidelines Issued by Government About Police Encounter Investigations

Police encounters are commonly heard of in India and most of us are even aware about many cases that smell fishy as well. Even government as taken notice of some fake encounter cases that have come forward and hence issued certain guidelines that the police department needs to adhere to in order to streamline the whole procedure and for investigation convenience as well.
1. It is mandatory put information regarding any tip off regarding a criminal offense in some form or the other either in writing (case diary preferably) or electronically, by a higher authority. Though, it is not mandatory to reveal all the details about the information like location or suspect.
2. If an encounter occurs post the tip-off or intelligence information, then it is mandatory to file an immediate FIR as per the procedure described under section 158 and forward it to the court under section 157.
3. The police team of another police station or the CID has to investigate the encounter or incident under the supervision of senior officer or atleast an officer of the same cadre to that of the one involved in the encounter. The team will need to collect the following information from site as well.
a. Identify the victim and take color pictures of him/ her. | b. Collect and preserve evidence related material like blood stained clothes, earth, hair, threads, equipment, fibers and more.
b. Identify and collect details of witnesses on site including their name, contact, address and more. Write down their statements or record them on video/ audio. Also, take down the statements of the police personnel involved in the encounter and pictures, video or sketch of the scene. Note down the death time and the whole process of the encounter that resulted in the death of the criminal.
c. Send the untouched finger prints of the deceased for chemical analysis. Also, any other finger prints collected on site have to be sent as well.
d. Evidence like weapons, cartridges, bullets, cartridge cases and more need to be taken into custody and preserved. Gun shot residue tests as well as metal detection traces need to be carried out wherever applicable.
e. It is necessary to note down the cause of death of the deceased, whether it was a suicide, homicide, encounter, natural or accidental death.
f. Two doctors need to conduct the postmortem of the deceased in the district hospital and one of them must be the hospital head or incharge. It is mandatory to cover the process through videography and preserve it.
9. The encounter information needs to be immediately sent to the NHRC or state human rights commission as per the case. Though NHRC need not necessarily get involved unless there is some doubt about the investigation or the encounter’s authenticity.
10. If the victim is injured in the encounter, then immediate medical aid needs to be provided to the victim and his/her statement has to be recorded in front of the medical officer or the magistrate. A medical fitness certificate also needs to be acquired from the officer.
11. In all the cases, where the encounter has resulted into death or deaths, a magisterial inquiry becomes mandatory under section 176 and the report of the it has to be sent to the judicial magistrate under section 190.
12. In case of death, the immediate relative of the criminal/ victim must be informed immediately.
13. In case of death or deaths in an encounter, it is mandatory to send half yearly statements of the cases of police firing to NHRC by the DGP’s. The due date for the statements is set to January and July 14. The format for the statement needs to be as follows and wherever applicable documents of reports have to be attached.
1. Criminal case no.
2. Investigating agency
3. Date/ Place of death
4. Situation resulting to death
a. Self defense | b. unlawful assemble dispersal course | c. affecting arrest course
5. Facts about the incident in brief
6. Report from inquiry by senior officers/ magistrate
7. Information related to
a. Police personnel responsible for the death |b. Information on use of force, lawful action or not.
15. In case if the conclusion report show evidence of a fake or unlawful encounter amounting to offense under the IPC, then disciplinary action against the responsible officer needs to be taken promptly after immediate suspension.

* Disclaimer – Sourced from the internet. Verification required