Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative along with National Law University, Delhi organised the National Conference – “Assessing Compliance of Police and Prison Authorities with the Transparency Regime” during 20th – 21st September, 2014. Records creation under the criminal justice system from the micro to the macro level was discussed. The compliance with proactive disclosure obligations in police and prison departments was assessed. In light of the findings, a template for voluntary disclosure of information at a Police Station was shared and commented upon.
Participants also shared their own experience of RTI based interventions in police departments. CHRI presented their preliminary findings on the basis of a study of the status of compliance in police departments of creating a public database. Use of technology in documenting the processes of the criminal justice system as well as the Open Government Data platform was deliberated upon. The challenges and opportunities of the sub-culture in the Law Enforcement Agencies were addressed. The conference saw a 20 point action plan emerge from the contributions from participants.
HRF also participated in this National Conference and presented a case chart containing details of RTI applications filed by HRF from 2007 to 2014 regarding prison deaths, torture in custody, encounter deaths, etc., and the reply received from various authorities at the Conference. Data on how various states and civil society organisations have taken steps to restructure their police laws and their experiences were exchanged in Conference.
Some Key details discussed:
- a) Status of compliance with the obligation of proactive disclosure of information by the police and prison departments – assessment on the basis of sample studies;
- b) Status of compliance in Police Departments with the obligation to proactively disclose information about individuals arrested for the alleged commission of various offences under the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
- c) Disclosure of Open Datasets pertaining to the incidence of crime, prisons, and disposal of criminal cases by courts:
- potential for human rights advocates and civil society actors for seeking greater accountability using the Open Datasets; and
- interrogating the method of collection and the quality of data sets relating to crimes;
- d) Sharing of experiences and best practices of embedding transparency in the police and prisons departments; and
e) Refining the templates for proactive disclosure of information at the police station level developed by CHRI and adopted by the Ahmedabad Police Commissionerate.