RECORD: Besides the first information report the police is mandated to maintain a case diary, where all the facts of the case are recorded for the benefit of both the prosecutor and victim.
By ADV VINAYAK POROB
The most important of any judicial process of the case diaries of the provocation for arrest, the identity of both the victim and the aggressor and the time and date of the incident. The case diary is like the Bible or Bhagwat Gita of any prosecution case.
STATION diary maintained at a Police Station is of utmost significance. It is the only evidence in documentary form of the entire business conducted at a Police Station on any day. The station diary consists of a record of the running of the police station, every act or action of a police officer on duty has to be mandatorily recorded in the general station diary — which in turn helps in maintaining checks and balances, and in maintaining supervisory and administrative control over the police station.
A station diary, being the record of the affairs of the police station on a daily basis, has to mandatorily contain in chronological order a record of all the happenings at a police station. The station diary assists in keeping track of the movement of police officers on duty and now as the recording of station diary has gone online it is forwarded to National Crime Records Bureau.
SENIOR police officers can access station diaries of any police station to trace the movement of police officers on duty. Date and time is automatically recorded when an entry is affected in a diary online, thereby eradicating any manipulation of the entries recorded in the station diary. Prior to going online, station diary entries were manipulated by police officers by leaving space in between entries, to squeeze through some new entries in between, to suit the manipulative and corrupt intent of police officers affecting the entry.
There are incidents of police officers in the past going out for personal work when on duty and when in trouble, affecting entries in the spaces and gaps left in the station diary to portray being on duty at the relevant time rather than at the spot of trouble. Prior to going online, end of the year was the time when mostly gaps were left in the inward and outward registers and in the station diary of a police station. This was in order to squeeze through back dated entries for the police officers to justify their illegal actions.
But now since the time the station diary has gone online, manipulation has been reduced to a considerable extent. Some entries recorded in the general station diary are amplified and recorded in other books also such as the First Information Reports (FIR) being recorded in the book of FIRs, etc. However, under no circumstances affecting entries in the station diary can be avoided.
In the State of Goa, police officers on duty only up to the level of police inspectors, are subject to or have to compulsorily record entries in a station diary. As such, considering this privilege, superior police officers when on duty enjoy the dispensation of manipulating their schedule and conduct as per their own whims and fancies.
It is high time now that the issue of accountability of the superior police officers be taken into consideration and officers up to the rank of superintendent of police be brought within the ambit of station diaries. In cases of failure by the police to register an FIR, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, a statute which governs the procedure in criminal trials and investigations as per section 154, recognizes only an officer-in-charge of a police station. Who is generally in the State of Goa a police officer of the rank of police inspector and upon his failure the superintendent of police of the district and hence, I personally feel the post of the officer-in-charge of a police station and that of the superintendent of police is of utmost importance. Considering the accountability of the officer holding the post of superintendent of police, officers up to the rank of superintendent of police, should be mandatorily brought within the purview of station diary.
THE working hours of a police station are 24 hours and many a times police stations across the State of Goa refuse to accept at the inward entry any complaint or correspondence after 5.30pm, stating lame excuses and when in fact all inward entries of all police stations in the State of Goa are open 24 hours.
Similarly, the government and the police administration in the State of Goa, considering the role played as per the Code of Criminal Procedure by a superintendent of police of a district in criminal investigations, certainly require to issue a circular directing to keep offices of superintendent of police open 24 hours for the purpose of inward entry and other relevant correspondences.
The purpose of establishing police stations was to serve the public and maintain law and order. However, now it appears that police stations in Goa are serving some other purpose other than the one they were established for — as a neutral setting at any police station for any length of time in a day, to notice gambling den like settings for monetary gains right from the police constables to the rank of the in-charges of the police stations. This is deplorable and further substantiates the incorrigible nature and greed of lower ranking police officers.
(This is the personal opinion of the writer who is an advocate practicing in Criminal Law at Mapusa-Goa.)