The end of a nearly 11-hour protest last night by some officials of Delhi police is a positive development. However, the manner in which it played out and the promises that senior officers made to bring about an end to the strike are worrisome.
Not for the first time have lawyers and policemen clashed in Delhi. It is not uncommon in India to hear of clashes between policemen and lawyers. It shows up the precarious situation of the average Indian citizen, as lawyers and the police force are two pillars of India’s criminal justice system. Without these two pillars functioning smoothly, the rule of law is more of an exception than the rule.
It is in this context that a promise to end the protest should worry home minister Amit Shah, who is in direct charge of Delhi Police. A senior officer had to promise that a review petition would be filed against the Delhi High Court order which agitated the rank and file of the police force. If the law enforcement agency, despite being legally bound by the provisions of the code for essential services, had to disrupt traffic all day to seek justice, what does it say about the plight of the average citizen?
India has a large pendency of unfinished cases which diminish the efficacy of the criminal justice system. We need urgently to fill up vacancies in courts, to hasten the pace of justice. But alongside that governments also need to implement the many reforms recommended by experts to improve the working of the police force. After all, a thorough investigation is the first step in ensuring justice.