In an earlier story, it was observed that close to a quarter of the crimes are being disposed by the police due to lack of evidence. Data from NCRB’s 2018 CII report further indicates that there is almost a 30% increase in the number of cases pending with the police for more than 3 years.
An earlier article of Factly analysed the status of disposal of cases in the year 2018 at the level of Police. Over the years, the number of cases that police deal with (both disposed & pending) has increased. As noted in the previous article, it is concerning that close to 25% of the cases are disposed by police due to lack of evidence.
Once a FIR is filed, the process at the police end includes – investigation of the case and based on the investigation, either proceed with the charge sheet for further trial in the court or close the case by filing a Final report.
The timelines for each of these processes varies and this has a direct impact on the pendency of cases with the police. This story examines the timeline of the cases that are pending with the police at various stages and also analyses the variations based on nature of the such cases.
Around 26% of IPC cases are pending for more than one year with the Police
As per NCRB’s Crime in India (CII)-2018 report, there are over 12.39 lakh pending IPC cases with the police. Of these, nearly 43% i.e. around 5.3 lakh cases are pending from less than 6 months while another 31% of the pending cases are pending between 6 months and a year.
More than a quarter of the pending IPC cases at the end 2018 are pending for over a year.
Of these, 2.58 lakh cases are pending between 1-3 years while a sizeable number of cases i.e. more than 65 thousand cases are pending for more than 3 years.
Number of IPC cases pending for more than 3 years increased in 2018
As highlighted in the earlier story, the total number of cases pending with the police at the end of 2018 has reduced compared to that of the previous year.
Among the cases in 2017, there were around 5.08 lakh cases that were pending for less than 6 months while this increased to 5.3 lakh cases in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of cases whose pendency is between 6 months to a year has reduced in 2018 compared to that of previous year.
However, the number of cases pending for more than one year has increased. In 2017, around 3.15 lakh IPC related cases were pending for more than a year with the police while this increased to 3.24 lakhs in 2018. Among these, the number of cases pending for more than 3 years has increased substantially from around 51 thousand by the end of 2017 to around 65 thousand by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 28%.
Kidnapping, Forgery & Fraud cases are pending for a longer time
Among all the crimes pending investigation at the end of 2018, IPC crimes such as Hurt, Theft, Forgery, Cheating & Fraud, rash driving etc have the highest number of pending cases.
However, among these major crime heads, most of the cases relating to Hurt and rash driving are pending for less than a year.
Out of the 1.59 lakh cases pending at the end of 2018 and relating to ‘Hurt’, around 80 thousand cases are pending for less than 6 months and another 48 thousand are pending between 6 months to a year. Out of more than 30 thousand cases pending investigation for more than a year, only around 4 thousand cases are pending more than 3 years.
Meanwhile, 1.79 lakhs out of 2.31 lakh cases relating to ‘Theft’ are pending investigation for less than a year, with around 50 thousand cases pending for more than a year. Of these nearly 9.9 thousand cases are pending for over 3 years.
Cases relating to IPC crimes of ‘Forgery, Cheating & Fraud’ have the highest number of cases pending investigation for more than 3 years with around 13 thousand cases. These cases form nearly 10% of the 1.3 lakh such cases pending with the police. Around 40 thousand cases are pending for more than 1 year but less than 3 years.
Nearly 35% of pending cases under ‘Kidnapping & Abduction’ are pending for over a year i.e. around 23 thousand out of the nearly 67 thousand pending cases.
Increase in the share of SLL crimes pending investigation for more than one year
By the end of the year 2017, there were around 4.3 lakh crimes under SLL (Special & Local Laws) which were pending investigation with the police. Of these, around 93 thousand were pending for more than a year i.e. 21% of the total pending SLL cases.
At the end of 2018, the total number of pending cases under SLL have reduced to 4.03 lakhs. However, the number of cases under SLL crimes pending for more than a year increased to 1.06 lakhs i.e. 26% of all SLL cases. More specifically, the number of cases pending for over three years has increased by 54%. By the end of 2017, these long pending cases (more than 3 years) were 12,781 which increased to 19,729 by the end of 2018.
A major contributor towards this increase are the cases booked under various Liquor and Narcotic Acts, especially State Prohibition Acts where in the number of pending cases for more than three years increased from 74 by end of 2017 to 2945 by end of 2018.
Increase in the time taken by police for filing Charge sheet in IPC crimes
The time taken to file the charge sheet has increased for 2018 compared to that of the previous year.
The number of cases charge sheeted within 3 months has reduced from 12.25 lakhs in 2017 to 11.57 lakhs in 2018. While there is a fall in both scenarios where charge sheet was filed ‘within 2 months’ and ‘from 2 to 3 months’, the major fall was observed in the case of the former. The police could file charge sheet in IPC cases within 2 months for about 6.39 lakhs in 2018 compared to 6.87 lakhs the previous year 2017.
Among the various IPC cases, there is across the board increase in the number of cases in 2018 where charge sheet was filed after 3 months. In 2017, charge sheet was filed after 2 years in more than 28 thousand cases which increased to more than 33 thousand in 2018.
The reduction in the number of cases charge sheeted in shorter duration points towards possible delays in investigation and administrative lapses. At the same time, increase in charge sheeting the long pending cases is a positive sign.
Most of the cases booked for ‘Rash driving’ are charge sheeted in a short period while those booked for ‘forgery, cheating & fraud’ take longer periods for the charge sheet to be filed.
The improvement in charge sheeting the long-standing cases is also seen in SLL related crimes. There were around 74 thousand cases pending for more than two years that were charge sheeted in 2017 which increased to around 86 thousand cases in 2018. 68% of the SLL cases were charge sheeted within 3 months in 2018 compared 76% in 2017.
Increase in number of IPC cases for which Final Reports were submitted in a short period.
The cases which are charge sheeted move to courts for trial. On the other hand, there are cases which are closed by the police itself by filing the final report. As observed in the earlier story, a major portion of cases were closed due to lack of sufficient evidence.
Out of the total IPC cases in which the final reports were filed by the police in 2018, final report was filed in 20% cases ‘within 2 months’, in 21% of the cases ‘between 2-3 months’ and in 26% of the cases ‘between 3-6 months’. This share of the timeline categories in 2017 was 21%, 18% and 23% respectively. There is a substantial increase in 2018, in the proportion of cases where the final report was filed ‘between 2-3 months’ and ‘between 3-6 months’.
Quick filing of final reports was observed prominently in the case of ‘theft’. In 2017, nearly 63% of the cases relating to theft were disposed within 6 months by filing final reports while this increased to 71% in 2018. The number of cases in which final reports were filed for ‘theft’ also increased from 4.34 lakhs in 2017 to 5.05 lakhs in 2018.
Hurt, Kidnapping and Abduction, Rash driving , cruelty by husband or relatives are the other crime heads for which the Final Reports were filed in a shorter time during 2018.
Increase in number of final reports file for SLL crimes pending for over a year
Meanwhile the number of crimes under SLL in which final reports have been filed are more evenly distributed among different timelines both for 2017 and 2018. However, a sharp increase is observed in filing of final reports for SLL cases that were pending between 1-2 years i.e. 13 thousand in 2017 to 27 thousand in 2018. A major chunk of these cases is under ‘Electricity Act’.
There is also an increase in immediate disposal of cases by filing final reports. SLL cases for which final reports were filed within 2 months increased from nearly 30 thousand in 2017 to 37 thousand in 2018. Even in this instance, the increase can be attributed to the quicker disposal of SLL cases under ‘Electricity Act’.
Increase in disposal of cases pending since longer period of time as well as new cases
As far as the time taken for the police to disposal of cases i.e. either by filing a charge sheet or a final report, a general increasing trend is observed in disposal of cases pending for a longer time.
However, in terms of new cases, there is an increase in number of Final reports submitted in a short time, but the case isn’t the same for charge sheeting where there is a fall in cases disposed in a shorter time.
While early disposal of cases is appreciated, the context of maximum number of final reports being filed due to ‘lack of evidence’, indicates a trend of hurriedness among the law enforcement authorities to close the cases quickly without proper investigation. In the earlier story, it was observed that a major portion of such closed cases relate to ‘theft’, indicating that the culprits are never brought to justice in those cases.
Featured Image: Number of cases pending with the police