NCRB officials blame it on old pro forma used to collect data
The only official nationwide data of incidence of crimes, published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), shockingly does not reflect data on cases registered under many of the new laws enacted and laws amended by Parliament since 1998.
NCRB officials blamed the anomaly on an old pro forma that they use to collect and collate data from the States. The only update for a 1998 pro forma, that NCRB sends to the State Crime Record Bureaus (SCRBs), was in 2000 when the IT Act was included.
This has meant there is no credible data to reflect the national picture to evaluate the effectiveness of laws enacted by Parliament against several crimes, including those against women and children in the last decade.
Disturbingly, even terror cases booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which was amended extensively and strengthened in 2004 and 2008, are not reflected. All cases of terrorism and waging war against the state, which were registered after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed in 2004, are not reflected.
Important amendments were moved to the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill in 2010 and 2013. Amendments were also made to Cr. PC and IPC in 2008 and 2009. Laws related to crime against women were amended extensively in 2013 after the Delhi gang-rape incident. While police forces across the country have been booking cases as per the new amended laws, it is not reflected in the NCRB data.
Amongst the other glaring omissions are cases registered under recent laws such as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The SCRBs collate data of crimes registered in the State and those inputs are aggregated by NCRB at the national level. While most of the SCRBs are up to date with the laws of the land, the NCRB is yet to catch up.
Chief Statistical Officer, NCRB, New Delhi, Akhilesh Kumar, told The Hindu, “The pro forma that NCRB uses to collate data from the States was prepared in the late 1990s and has not been updated since,” adding that pressure from many quarters led the NCRB to include Information Technology Act, 2000 and that was the last time the pro forma was updated.
He said the NCRB would go in for a new pro forma in 2014, which would be updated with all the new laws and amendments brought in recent years and promised that the NCRB data for 2014 would reflect cases registered under all crime heads.