Every Citizen is a Police Officer
Every citizen is a police officer without uniform and every police officer is a common citizen in uniform. Every citizen has been given power of a police officer to ensure peace and order in the society and thus a common citizen can contribute a lot in the maintenance of law and order in the society. Section 43 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India bestowed power of arrest to the common citizen if a cognizable and non- bailable offence is committed in his or her presence. The section 43 says:
“(1) Any private person may arrest or cause to be arrested any person who in his presence commits a non-bailable and cognizable offence, or any proclaimed offender, and, without unnecessary delay, shall make over or cause to be made over any person so arrested to a police officer, or, in the absence of a police officer, take such person or cause him to be taken in custody to the nearest police station.
(2) If there is reason to believe that such person comes under the provisions of section 41, a police officer shall re-arrest him.
(3) If there is reason to believe that he has committed a non-cognizable offence, and he refuses on the demand of a police officer to give his name and residence, or gives a name or residence which such officer has reason to believe to be false, he shall be dealt with under the provisions of section 42; but if there is no sufficient reason to believe that he has committed any offence, he shall be at once released.”
Responsibilities and obligations of common citizens in the Policing
It is the responsibility of a common citizen to assist the police in certain cases as well as to provide information to the police regarding commission of various crimes.
Section 37 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India gives obligations to the common citizen to assist the police and the magistrates:
Every person is bound to assist a Magistrate or police officer reasonably demanding his aid-
(a) in the taking or preventing the escape of any other person whom such Magistrate or police officer is authorised to arrest; or
(b) in the prevention or suppression of a breach of the peace; or
(c) in the prevention of any injury attempted to be committed to any railway, canal, telegraph or public property.
Section 39 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India enumerates certain kinds of information to be given to the police by the common citizens:
Every person, aware of the commission of, or of the intention of any other person to commit, any offence punishable under any of the following sections of the Indian Penal
Code,(45 of 1860) namely:-
(i) Sections 121 to 126, both inclusive, and section 130 (that is to say, offences against the State specified in Chapter VI of the said Code);
(ii) Sections 143, 144, 145, 147 and 148 (that is to say, offences against the public tranquility specified in Chapter VIII of the said Code);
(iii) Offences relating to illegal gratification
(iv) Sections 272 to 278, both inclusive (that is to say, offences relating to adulteration of food and drugs, etc.);
(v) Sections 302, 303 and 304 (that is to say, offences affecting life);
(vi) section 382 (that is to say, offence of theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft);
(vii) Sections 392 to 399, both inclusive, and section 402 (that is to say, offences of robbery and dacoity);
(viii) Section 409 (that is to say, offence relating to criminal breach of trust by public servant, etc.);
(ix) Sections 431 to 439, both inclusive (that is to say, offences of mischief against property);
(x) Sections 449 and 450 (that is to say, offence of house-trespass);
(xi) Sections 456 to 460, both inclusive (that is to say, offences of lurking house-trespass); and
(xii) Sections 489A to 489E, both inclusive (that is to say, offences relating to currency notes and bank notes),
shall, in the absence of any reasonable excuse, the burden of proving which excuse shall lie upon the person so aware, forthwith give information to the nearest Magistrate or police officer of such commission or intention.