• The Law Gazette

The Sheltered Actions of the Police: How are their Powers Reclined?

Police Officers are governed by The Police Act of 1861 which arranges and establishes definite ground rules to safeguard the rights of individuals. The Police Force is responsible for preserving the harmony amongst the subjects and punishing the wrongdoers. An oppressed and persecuted party signals regarding the fact in issue to the respective local Police Station. However, in modern times numerous examples have proved the fact that the Police Force is outpacing and eclipsing the amount of authority vested in it.

The Police Force has resorted the life individuals to take the law in their own hands and determine any particular dispute with the desired ends.[i] The Police is tremendously surpassing the authority lodged by their units, and staging the acts of Police Brutality or Violence, which has turned out to be an extensive issue in the 21st-century democratic nations.


The following data shows how studies have proved the following aspects of police brutality harassed and carried out in India:

1. Three out of every four personnel in the police force demonstrates that the police have the authority to persecute and intimidate its subjects.

2. Four out of every five personnel in the police force determines that the policemen have the power to torment its subjects to derive a confessionary statement.

3. It has been proved that post-2016, more than 400 deaths have materialized as a result of custodial violence.

4. More than 70% of the policemen agreed that the police force can be violent with the criminals as a recipient of safeguarding the national justice.

5. It was observed that the higher the level of education amongst the police personnel, the fact of tormenting the criminals was a common criterion which created a classification between the educated and the under-educated.

6. More than half of the police personnel agreed that if an individual has been accused of a particular crime, he shall be incriminated.

7. Involuntary confession held accountable to the agonizing by the police force.[ii]


Police Brutality is a form of “Police Violence”, influenced by the police personnel exceeding the amount of authority vested in it. A police personnel bullying or tormenting its subjects would be outpacing of the vested authority. The vested authority does not extend to harassing, anguishing, distressing or excruciating the subjects who are responsible to the state.

In the case of Nilabati Behara v. State of Orissa & Ors, [iii], it was held that wherein a public servant has eclipse the authority dressed in him, and has caused a violation of any of the fundamental rights, a monetary compensation and appropriate remedy must be provided to him.

In the case of A.V. Janaki Amma & Ors v. Union of India, [iv], wherein it was reiterated that where a public officer employed on the behalf of the state has violated any of the rights guaranteed under the Part III of the Indian Constitution, an appropriate compensation should be paid wherein a petition is filed by the aggrieved party in violation of such right in the Hon’ble Court. In the case, Shri D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal, [v], necessary guidelines administrating criminal justice and criminalizing custodial violence were precedented to ensure a criminal is also provided with the fundamental and elementary rights which is a pre-requisite to durability.


Police Brutality, as in its heinous forms, is a punishable offence. The State has devised several statutes and provisions to ensure any form of rampage implemented by any bureau of the executive is not camouflaged or disguised as legally and morally humane.

Liability in Private Law

It was held in the case of Rudul Shah v. State of Bihar,[vi] compensation has to be paid accounting for the violence afflicted upon the subjects of the state.

Disciplinary Proceedings

Any police personnel afflicting upon any type of violence upon the subjects of the state shall be liable to internal disciplinary proceedings according to The Police Act of 1861. The Disciplinary Proceedings shall take place in the form of proceedings which would be regulated on a day-to-day basis to consider and interrogate into the dispute thereof.

In the case of Chaturvedi v. Union of India,[vii], it was held herein that the regulatory board considering such proceedings has the authority to consider the appointment or dismissal of officers herein appointed or employed to secure peace and construe ends of justice.


On platforms of Social Media, Instagram or Facebook, when any of the videos of police incriminating or harassing the criminal emerged, it has been and still is promoted and sustained by the acts and statements of public. Not even 1% of the comments/statements herein are unfavourable or adverse contradicting the arbitrary and unjust actions of the respective police which is liable to interpret the ends of justice. One of such extensively boasted act of the police taking law & order in their hands is the encounter of accused involved in the Hyderabad Rape Case.[viii]

Such unjust, unreasonable and capricious acts of the police have been tremendously needed to be reformed since a major time. However, the frivolous act of police brutality has paved its way into the paradigm of COVID-19 restrictions.


Jayaraj (59) and his son Fenix Emmanuel (31) had a local business in the state of Tamil Nadu. On June 19, after 8:00 Pm Jayaraj was arrested by the respective local police who was on duty because of violating the guidelines of state curfew. However, his son Fenix was also arrested and both of them were booked under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.[ix] While in custody, both of them were harassed and tortured excessively and tremendously. The police personnel demanded their clothes 4 times from their place of residence to cover up the clothes which were concealed in bloodstains. But both of them were tortured to such a great extent, and the police personnel was liable of persecuting two innocent lives to graves.

Jayaraj and Fenix’s Incident created a movement amongst the youth, especially of the country. However, it is observed that in most parts of India people are not aware of their basic and elementary rights and thus this was a mere trend to such people.


Sagar Chalavadi was a 19-year old boy who was an aspirant of SSLC exam. He was subjected to violence and harassment from the police personnel which explains the heart attack occurred to him which took away his life. The Police suspected the young boy to whirl around misbehaviour and negligence which led the Police to beat the subject. The young boy was alleged to have an earlier heart condition which elevated because of the violence and chaos created by the police. However, the family of the deceased specified to the media in an interview that the boy was not involved in any kind of negligence, rather he travelled to ensure his sister carefully reaches the exam centre.[x]


1. A strict enforcement of the laws shall be maintained.

2. A system of checks and balances to be maintained on the branch of Police.

3. Awareness regarding all the basic substantive and procedural rules shall be spread amongst the individuals residing in the state.

4. A change in the police treatment and perception.

5. Working towards educating Police Personnel.


The Police Personnel should work towards the betterment of the subjects of the state. It is true and proven that in the case of Police Brutality, the subjects of the state also play a major role in determining and identifying the loopholes of the Police System. India, is a democratic state, thus the only supreme or sovereign authority which exists within the arrangement and the structure is the People of India. However, it has been recognized that individuals of the state can take regulatory and authoritative actions against the three organs, i.e. Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.[xi]

The Police Force is responsible for the betterment of the subjects cohabiting in the nation. However, it has been observed that the Police force is not correctly vested with the authorities, and the enforcement of those authorities is done unjustifiably. The State shall be held responsible for the views and the actions of the Police Personnel and strict actions shall be initiated in the case of Police Brutality. With an increase of the amount of Police Brutality occurring throughout the nations, the role of the police needs to be definitely reiterated.

ENDNOTES [i] Varsha Singh, Police Brutality in India is on the rise & Indian Judges are fast asleep, says Colin Gonsalves, human rights lawyer, Media India Group ( July 10, 2020), https://mediaindia.eu/society/police-brutality-in-india-is-on-the-rise-indian-judges-are-fast-asleep-says-colin-gonsalves-human-rights-lawyer/. [ii] Nithya Subramanian, In Charts: High approval for police violence in India- 80% among police, 50% among citizens, Scroll (Sep. 08, 2019, 6:30 AM), https://scroll.in/article/936162/in-charts-high-approval-for-police-violence-in-india-80-among-police-50-among-citizens, [iii] AIR 1993 SC 1960 [iv] 2004 (1) ALD 19 [v] Indian Const. Art. 32. [vi] AIR 1983 SC 1086.

[vii] The Police Act 1861 § 7. [viii] Abhinay Deshpande, All four accused in Hyderabad vet rape and murder case shot dead, The Hindu (Dec. 6, 2019, 7:42 AM), https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/four-accused-in-hyderabad-vet-rape-and-murder-case-shot-dead/article30202752.ece [ix] The Indian Penal Code 1860 § 188, 353,268 and 506. [x] Shubhangi Gupta, 19-year-old Dies Outside Exam Centre in Karnataka’s Bijapur; Family Alleges Police Brutality, Cops Say Heart Attack, The India (June 27, 2020, 6:31 PM), https://www.india.com/news/india/19-year-old-dies-outside-exam-centre-in-karnatakas-bijapur-family-alleges-police-brutality-cops-say-heart-attack-4069336/

[xi] Thiru N. Ram vs Union of India & Ors., AIR 2016 SC 221.


This blog has been authored by Anshit Minocha, who is a 3rd year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at School of Law, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.