Every year, the NCRB includes, excludes & merges some of the data in its flagship publications like the ‘Crime in India’ report. Here is a look at what is new and what is excluded in the 2017 report.
The Crime in India (CII) report of 2017 (65th Edition) was finally released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on 21 October 2019 after a delay of around 22 months. As noted in a previous article by Factly, the CII report was released after an average delay of 11 months since the year 2000. In other words, the 2017 report took almost double the time than it took for the similar reports since 2000.
The CII report has been published since 1954 by the NCRB which works under the aegis of Home Ministry. The Crime in India report is significant because it represents the state of crimes, law and order in the country. Other than this, two other reports are also released by the bureau, Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) and Prison Statistics India (PSI). The delay in releasing the report led to a lot of criticism and raised many doubts on whether the government was deliberately holding it back.
One of the main reasons behind this delay as stated by Home Ministry is that ‘comprehensive revision’ of the reporting in order to include more categories of crime according to a newspaper report. The report is modified as and when necessary so that it considers evolving crimes and to include new categories. Detailed recording of data makes it more comprehensive for parliamentarians, policy makers, researchers and others who use the data. In this story, we look at the changes made in the latest report compared to the previous report.
A new table that provides data on Rape cases in custody has been introduced
In the 2017 CII report, the bureau has focused on collecting detailed information on crimes against women and children. A new table on sub-section wise registration of rape cases (Section 376) has been introduced in the CII report. Rape cases in custody (Section 376 (2) a-e)) by police personnel, public servant, armed forces member, jail staff, hospital staff and others have been tabulated. A few other non-custodial rape cases (Section 376 (2) f, h-n) included in the table are offence on pregnant women, women with disability and women below 16 years of age. Data on cases registered under Section 376 (A to E) which deal with repeat offenders, gang rape and rape by separated husband are also given in the table.
New Table with age profile and crime head wise details of cases registered under POCSO
Under the section on Crimes against Children, data has been shared on the basis of age profile of victims in the cases booked under the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Up to 6 years, 6 to 12 years, 12 to 16 years and 16 to 18 years are the different categories. Another table has been added for cases registered under Section 4 and 6 of POCSO act based on the offender’s relationship with the child victim.
Cyber-crimes targeting Women and Children incorporated in 2017 report
Internet and social media usage are rampant in this age & time. Cyber-crime cases are only increasing with every passing day. Taking this into consideration, an important addition made to the list of crimes is the details of cyber-crimes against women and children. Detailed cyber-crime statistics under the crime heads of blackmailing/threatening, stalking, defamation, fake profiles and other cyber-crimes targeting women and children covered under the Information and Technology Act of 2000 have been recorded. In addition to this, records of online frauds, circulation fake news and more have been incorporated in the report.
More detailed breakup of cases booked under the ‘SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities act’
A more detailed breakup of the offences registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is given in the 2017 report. Crime heads in this section include murder, murder attempt, simple and grievous hurt such as acid attack, assault on women and children, social boycott and more.
Crimes by ‘Anti-National elements’ recorded in detail
The tables under the head of offences against the state in the 2016 report have been restructured and rearranged in the current report. A new section on crimes committed by anti-national elements has been introduced which gives information regarding the crimes reported against North East insurgents, Naxalites and Left-Wing Extremists and terrorists. All such elements have been termed as ‘anti-national’ in the report. Number of cases registered, location of incident, number of civilians and police/defence personnel injured, and offender details have been recorded here. Arms and other items of police/ defence personnel stolen by such anti-national elements and recovered from them have also been given in detail.
Injuries and deaths of police officers, as well as civilians as a result of police operations involving anti-nationals, riots and dacoity, border crossfires and accidental killings, have been recorded in detail unlike in 2016 when only number of deaths and injuries were given without mentioning the reason behind it. The number of people arrested under the code of criminal procedure and those detained to prevent them from committing crimes on the grounds of suspicion has been categorised as per the crime-head. Country wise statistics of foreign offenders as well as foreign victims registered under different crime heads has also been included in the 2017 CII report.
The report has details on pendency of cases and duration of pendency
Delay in justice is yet another prominent section that has been included in the 2017 report. Period of pendency of cases in courts and police stations and pendency in investigation have been recorded this year unlike the previous year where only number of cases were given. Time taken for submitting charge sheets and final reports in both IPC & SLL crimes have been enumerated for different crime heads.
In addition to the categories mentioned above, the 2017 report has also collected data on various Special Local Laws such as The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, The Food Safety & Standards Act, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), The Chit Fund Act and more. Most of these were clubbed under ‘Other SLL crimes’ in the 2016 report.
Some tables have been merged
‘The Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988’ criminalises corruption. Data was compiled under the heads of action taken by courts and action taken by the department in which the offender worked. The two tables have been combined into one in CII 2017. Similarly, tables on recidivism against juveniles and other persons have been combined.
Data on over 25 categories has been withheld as per reports
The table on victims murdered by firearms has been omitted in the 2017 report. The table had details regarding the number of murders that took place in the year which involved usage of licensed and unlicensed firearms.
The Home Ministry has claimed that the bureau had collected details on cow slaughter, mob lynching and hate crimes. But the data collected was vague and unreliable because of which it was excluded from the report. Newspaper reports suggest that the ministry omitted around 25 categories of crime such as crimes against journalists, RTI activists, whistle-blowers and others who are prone to be attacked. Details of crimes committed by religious preachers, khap panchayats, illegal migrants, servants, security and many others have also not been added in the report.
Issues with the methodology & delay
The data in the NCRB report is based on ‘Principle Offence Rule’, which means among many offences registered in a single FIR case, only most heinous crime (maximum punishment) will be considered as counting unit for the purpose of data collection. However, for crimes against children, women, SC/ST and a few other similar cases, the rule is not followed.
Another shortcoming is that the population projections used are outdated. For instance, general population, population of women and children is estimated on the basis of 2001 census by the Registrar General of India.
Like justice delayed is justice denied, the delay in the release of such important data makes the data less useful. The NCRB which released the CII report for 2010 to 2015 within 6 months has taken more than 22 months for the 2017 report. This delay is also a cause for concern.
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