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February 18, 2020

Criminal law module added to police training


February 18, 2020

Many of the recruits are unaware of the criminal law before their induction into the police department, and Deputy Inspector General Abdul Khalique Shaikh has drawn up a module and made it a part of training manuals.

In this regard, a book has been published by former additional inspector general Muhammad Akbar, who says the book on criminal law has been written to cater for the needs of police officers, as part of the Sindh Police Curriculum Development Programme. He says training manuals are to be written under this programme, which includes different aspects of police working. “I would like to acknowledge that it was on the insistence and encouragement of Abdul Khalique Shaikh, DIG and barrister-at-law, that I agreed to write this module.”

Shaikh had not only prepared the contours of the module but also provided ex-DIG Akbar with necessary resource material. Talking to The News on Monday, DIG Sheikh said the outline of the book is how criminal law is taught in police, the approach of the module, how to benefit from the module, a brief overview of the criminal law module and its objectives.

“Moreover, by the end of this chapter, you should have a fair and clear understanding of the following, inadequate training of criminal law in police training institutions. Criminal law is best understood by studying the concepts of criminal liability, pattern of text of different chapters, a brief overview of each chapter of the module, objectives of module on criminal law, and motivation to study the criminal law.”

Sheikh added that the subject of criminal law is the fundamental branch of knowledge that a police officer needs to acquire during different phases of training. The necessity arises for main agency for enforcing the law. Pakistan has a statutory criminal law in the shape of Pakistan Penal Code and local and special laws.

Police officers are taught sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and other laws during their training. This book has been designed to study the criminal point of view of the subject.

According to the DIG, the main focus of the book is to enable the police officers to understand the rationale behind the criminal laws. They should be able to understand the concept of criminal ability accruing from different offences. This is possible only when they have a clear understanding of ingredients of each offence provided in the Penal Code.

“The objective of writing this module is to enable police officers to understand the ingredients which constitute an offence. That is how the police officers will be able to apply correct sections of the penal law while writing first information reports. They will also remain focused on collecting the relevant evidence during the course of investigation instead of wasting energy on gathering irrelevant material. The police officers should be able to adopt a critical and analytical approach based on essential ingredients of the offences and apply it to factual situations which they confront at the police stations.”

How the law is taught

The subjects of Pakistan Penal Code and local and special laws are taught in the training institutions of police. Criminal Law is a compulsory subject in all the training courses of head constables, assistant sub-inspectors and sub-inspectors.

There is no textbook or reading material for the police officers. The instructors read the plain text of sections of the Penal Code and trainees are expected to learn the text by heart. Police officers do not get any instructions which may enable them to understand the concepts of criminal law.

Consequently, they are unable to interpret various terms and words used in the definition of offences. They get a very cursory idea of the offences and are unable to grasp the ingredients that actually constitute the offence. The resource material for teaching criminal law is the bare acts. Reading the text of sections of the penal code is the standard method of teaching in the police training institutes. This method of teaching criminal law was considered inadequate which did not meet the needs of police officers.

The approach

Criminal law is a difficult subject which requires deep understanding of the intent of the legislature and its interpretation by the courts. The intention of the legislature is reflected in the words used to describe an offence. The general scheme followed in the Pakistan Penal Code is that first there is definition of the offence followed by a penal provision relating to it. It is the definition of the offence which is most relevant in understanding the offence because it contains the ingredients that would constitute the offence.

Unless a conduct falls within the ambit of the definition of the offence, it will not constitute an offence under the penal code and there will be no criminal liability.

Making it beneficial

This module has been designed to cater for the needs of police officers relating to criminal offences. A conceptual approach has been adopted for understanding of the offences prescribed in the Pakistan Penal Code.

Now it is expected from the police officers that they understand the concept of criminal liability. Moreover, the police officers are able to comprehend the main ingredients that constitute a crime instead of learning the bare text of each section of the PPC.

Brief overview

Introduction and theme setting: It deals with introduction, approach of the module, review of the Criminal Law Module, objectives and special features of the training module.

Chapter 2, Crime and Punishment: This chapter discusses the purpose of criminal law; definition of crime/offence and sources of criminal law in Pakistan. It also covers concept of punishment, punishments prescribed in the Pakistan Penal Code and the right of appeal. This chapter also explains the classification of offences according to their nature and according to the procedural Law.

Chapter 3: Elements of a crime (actus reus): This chapter discusses the elements of crime and discusses the element of actus reus in detail. The three components of actus reus, i.e. acts (or omission), consequence and surrounding circumstances have been explained separately.

DIG Sheikh said that mental state of the victim and state of affairs as surrounding circumstances have also been discussed. This chapter also covers causation, operative and intervening causes, and coincidence of actus reus with mens rea.

Chapter 4: Elements of a crime (mens rea): This chapter defines mens rea and explains strict liability offences and states of mind. Expressions of intent, knowledge, recklessness, willfully, voluntarily, dishonestly, negligently and fraudulently have been explained with reference to mens rea. It also covers the principle of transfer of malice and difference between intention and motive.

Chapter 5, General exceptions: The definition of all offences is subject to certain exceptions. Offences falling within an exception will negate the crime. Therefore, an exception provides a defence to the accused person.

This chapter deals with criminal liability of children, persons of unsound mind, acts done under duress, and acts done under mistake of fact. It then explains the protection provided to acts done by judges or done under judicial orders and acts done by accident or misfortune. This chapter also deals with criminal liability of acts done with consent of the victim and liability of acts done without consent of the victim along with valid and invalid consent.

Chapter 6, Abetment and criminal conspiracy, offences against the state and public tranquility: This chapter deals with the criminal liability of secondary parties to a crime, besides the principal offender. It gives definition of abetment and explains the three modes of abetment, i.e. through instigation, through conspiracy and through aiding.

The liability of abettor with relation to the act done by the person abetted under different conditions is also discussed. It also deals with criminal conspiracy and difference between abetment by conspiracy and criminal conspiracy. It also covers offences against the state which include waging war on Pakistan, condemnation of creation of Pakistan and sedition. It also deals with offences of unlawful assembly, rioting and affray.

DIG Sheikh said Part Two of the book consists of other major offences that include murder, hurt, wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement and assault, kidnapping and abduction, theft and extortion, robbery and dacoity, dishonest misappropriation of property, breach of trust and cheating, mischief trespass and housebreaking, and forgery.

Other subjects include offences relating to oil and gas Section 462 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which deals with offences against oil, gas and electricity.

This chapter deals with offences covered in Section 462 (A to M). Different terms used in relation to oil and gas such as distribution, facility, gas meter, gas regulator, meter index, tampering etc. have been defined. It also defines domestic and commercial consumers along with offences of tampering with main lines, auxiliary lines, gas meter and damaging of transmission lines.

Offences relating to marriage: This chapter deals with offences relating to the exploitation of rights of women in the society. It deals with criminal liability of cohabitation caused by deception of lawful marriage and discusses conditions under which marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife will constitute a offence. It also covers the effect of concealment of former marriage at the time of subsequent marriage and criminal liability of marriage ceremony with fraudulent intent.

Moreover, Chapter 18 defines criminal intimidation, insult and annoyance, while Chapter 19 is on the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997. This chapter deals with offences covered by the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997. It discusses the purpose of ATA, 1997, and explains various terms used in the ATA, 1997. It gives definition of terrorism and specifies acts that fall within the ambit of terrorism. It also covers the acts that constitute sectarian hatred along with ingredients of the offence.

It defines terrorist organisations and discusses actions that can be taken against terrorist organizations, including proscription and power to place them under observation. It also covers the powers of police which include powers of arrest, detention and disposal of terrorist property.

Various offences defined under the ATA, 1997 have been covered along with the investigation and trial in anti-terrorism courts. The powers of the ATA courts relating to the trial of cases and other legal provisions governing trial and defective investigation have been discussed.

Chapter 20, Sindh Arms Act, 2013 & Control of Narcotic Substances Act, 1997: This chapter deals with the offences covered under the Sindh Arms Act, 2013. It deals with unlawful possession, acquisition and manufacture of arms. It also covers the offences of unlawful sale and purchase of arms and ammunition in the province of Sindh, along with provisions relating to grant of licenses for acquisition or sale or purchase of arms and ammunition in the province of Sindh.