Police tops list of services complained against: report
* Education Department comes second, DCOs third and LG&RD fourth
By Hassnain Qureshi
LAHORE: The number of complaints lodged with the Punjab ombudsman’s office during 2003 against the Police Department were more than those lodged against the Education Department, which remained on top of the list for three for consecutive years.
Complaints against the Education Department were followed by complaints against district coordinating officers (DCOs) and then the Local Government and Rural Development Department (LG&RD) whereas complaints against Lahore, Sargodha and Sheikhupura topped the list of complaints against districts. Complaints against Lodhran district were the least.
All this was stated in the Punjab ombudsman office’s annual report of 2003, which was submitted to the Punjab governor as required under Section 28 of the Punjab Office of the Ombudsman Act 1997. The ombudsman’s office headed by Justice (r) Sajjad Ahmad Sipra at the time disposed of a record number of 72,587 complaints since 1996.
The report stated that in 2003, 9,392 complaints were lodged, 3,800 of which were arrears, 13,192 were processed and 9,509 were disposed of.
Since 1996, 76,270 complaints were lodged out of which 72,587 were disposed of and 3,683 were pending, the report stated.
Complaints against Lahore were the most at 1,418; then against Faisalabad at 480 and in third place was Sargodha with 427, it added.
The report stated that special attention was given to complaints from disadvantaged groups, gender hardships, special people and widows and police excesses in the context of human rights violations.
During 2003, 70 representations against the ombudsman’s order were decided by the Punjab governor. The governor upheld the ombudsman’s orders in 52 cases, set them aside in 12 cases, modified his orders in three cases and amended his orders in two cases, the report stated.
As per requirement of Section 9 of the Ombudsman Act l997, recommendations formulated on the basis of complaints received during the year under report also formed part of the report. The ombudsman as such had made certain proposals and recommendations for the working of various departments, it added.
The ombudsman made recommendations about the police, stating that reliable and satisfactory law and order of a society were pre-requisite for its economic and social development. With the implementation of the Police Order 2002, maintaining law and order had become an unshared responsibility of the police set up the report said.
People were rightly expecting an improvement in law and order, entailing security of their life and property. Police was placed at the top in terms of the number of complaints received against government agencies, the report added.
Some of the complaints listed in the report were as follows:
1) Rampant corruption, abuse of power, illegal detention, physical torture and improper investigation of offences. Deteriorating law and order creating a sense of insecurity among the citizens.
2) Unnecessary delays in submitting challans to the courts of competent jurisdiction hence defeating justice to be done to the offenders of the law. Delays/denial to lodge FIRs on different pretexts.
3) Lack of coordination between the various wings of the police set-up like investigation, watch and ward and traffic police. This is adversely affecting the overall performance of this law and order-maintaining organ of the government.
It was imperative that the inspector general of police take well-considered steps to institutionalise the system to improve the police, redress public complaints and rebuild the trust of the people in the organisation, it added.
About the universities, the ombudsman recommended making the examination wing more efficient to ensure the timely dispatch of information to candidates, the report said, adding that the degrees and results cards were issued within the minimum possible time after the announcement of results.
The admission process should be made transparent and confidence inspiring and rules regarding admission under various schemes should be widely circulated for the students’ information, the report said, adding that the secrecy branches should also be made more effective and efficient.
About the environment, the report stated that the overall environment in which the citizens were living was being degraded by many factors including inadequate and poor quality of civic amenities being provided by the local and municipal authorities, solid and hospital wastes not being disposed of properly, silage water and industrial effluents being discharged into fresh water channels.