PATNA: The lack of basic proficiency in English among Bihar cops was for long an open secret. However, when the inspector in charge of Kotwali police station in Munger district informed a local police court that a particular case could not be investigated because the FIR was written in English, it became a topic of discussion.
This response, communicated to the court of Munger chief judicial magistrate (CJM), came from Sriram Chaudhary, the inspector-cum-station house officer (SHO) of Kotwali police station.
A shocked CJM, F Rahaman, directed the Munger deputy inspector general (DIG) to initiate contempt proceedings against Chaudhary.
In fact, CJM Rahaman had issued instructions to Kotwali police station five months ago asking the cops to register an FIR regarding a cheating complaint filed by the proprietor of a Gurgaon-based company against a Hyderabad-based company.
In the complaint case filed in the court in May, Mahendra Singh, proprietor of Comet Engineering, had accused Y Kiren Kumar, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Hyderabad-based KSR InterTech Engineering, of not paying the dues of Rs 30 lakh to his firm for its work in construction of the Ganga bridge in Munger.
When police officials across Bihar heard about the Kotwali SHO’s justification for not registering the FIR it shocked them.
Most police officials, while admitting that lack of knowledge of the English language remains a problem with Bihar cops, argued that all FIRs should be registered in Hindi in this Hindi-belt state.
“Even if there is no official who knows enough English, the police station should have complied with the court’s order immediately by registering an FIR. Nothing prevented the SHO to get the FIR translated into Hindi later. We are probing the matter,” said Vikas Vaibhav, the DIG in charge of Munger, who was asked by the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the SHO.
Sources said nearly half of the inspectors and at least a quarter of sub-inspectors currently working in Bihar police force can hardly read and understand English. In most cases, when a person submits a complaint written in English, police officers in Bihar ask them to write it in Hindi.