STATE ASSURANCE OF
IRRECOVERABLE PROPERTY IN ALL PROPERTY RELATED CRIMES
PRATEEP V. PHILIP, IPS,
Originally, the right to property was also
included in the Fundamental Rights of Constitution of India; however, the
Forty-fourth Amendment, passed in 1978, revised the status of property rights by
stating that "No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of
law." It is the States incumbent duty to ensure the
security of life and property of all its citizens. What the State cannot
ensure, it can insure, what it cannot insure, it can assure. This paper aims at
understanding the nitty-gritty of the protection of property prevailing in
India, involvement of law enforcing machinery in the process and the innovative
role of Government in building confidence in the minds of millions of citizens
of India. The scope of the study is restricted to Tamil Nadu, one of the states
of the Life and Properties of Citizens
The Constitution of India envisages the
protection of the life and properties of its citizens as an important obligation
of the State. In pursuance of this objective, the law enforcing machinery like
Police Department performs its functions to protect the life and properties of
its citizens from criminal activities.
It is impossible for the police personnel to detect all the
cases or to recover all of the stolen properties due to either utilization of
the property or consumption of the property or destruction of the property or
utilization of the money stolen. Globally, the obligation of the Government with
respect to stolen property stops with this. This has created a sense of
frustration among sections of the society and a general impression that stolen
properties would not be recovered once it is stolen. It has the impact of
creating a mass impression which is unjustified though the Police Department has
been carrying out its responsibilities with sincerity and dedication. It leads
to a tendency to burk crimes and to rely on the window dressing of statistics of
State assurance of property would also lead to fewer people
giving up their lives or getting grievously injured while defending their
property from being stolen in violent crimes like robbery and dacoity.
The policy of assurance implies that in all true property
crimes occurring in the coming financial year, if after due diligence and
thorough investigation, a case is certified to be undetected and property not
recovered, then the State will step in to recompense the entire value of such
Comparative Figure of
Property Crime for 2004 and 2005 in Tamil Nadu
Crime Review, Tamil Nadu. 2005
Methodology of the Proposed Innovative Scheme of Assurance
following clauses may be added in the proposed Innovative scheme of assurance
implications of the assurance policy for a state for instance like Tamil Nadu
will not far exceed Rs. 10 crores given the baseline value of property not
recovered in 2004 and 2005 (Rs.9 crores approximately).
of the state would exclude already insured property of individual citizens and
such items of property that are already covered by well-defined insurance
schemes such as two wheelers and four wheeler vehicles.
would also exclude cases of cheating and such other white collar crimes
involving loss to an individual or firm or organization.
In cases of
payment of assurance but subsequent detection and recovery, the value may be
remitted to the treasury.
clauses for prosecution can be incorporated for any fraudulent claims.
would, of course, exclude cases of wanton or proven negligence on the part of
the owner of the property and would apply if all reasonable precautions
that would normally be observed by a prudent citizen.
In western countries, almost all the properties are insured
against loss of theft and hence this is not a serious problem in those
countries. But in India
where more than 40 percent of the country lives below poverty line, the
insurance for loss of properties has not spread widely. The State Government,
in its role to ensure protection to the properties of its citizens, can promise
its citizens that the value of non-recoverable stolen properties, when they are
not insured and when due diligence has been exercised by the citizen in ensuring
the protection of his/her property, will be paid to the citizens who have lost
A cost benefit analysis of the proposed scheme would
clearly reveal the vast accrued direct and spin-off benefits to the entire
population of the state, in terms of an enhanced sense of security and good will
towards the Government. The scheme can bring many benefits to the society and
improve the efficiency of the functioning of Police Department, other than
dispelling the myth that all stolen properties are lost forever and the sense
of insecurity among the public.
A simple calculation may solve the problem of meeting this
Table 2 Number of Occupied
Residential Houses in Tamil Nadu
Number of Houses
Source: Statistical Hand Book 2005
If Rs. 4.50/- is collected semi-annually from each
residential occupant, the total commitment of the Tamil Nadu Government may be
met. The future value of Rs.4.50/- collected semi-annually from 12400000
occupants may bring the required fund to the exchequer of the Government in a
The calculations are given below:
The future value of this two annuities in a year would
fetch the Government would be Rs.11,35,53,000/- at the rate of 7% per annum.
Benefits of the Scheme
confidence of the public on the State Government as a protector of their
interests will improve significantly.
will be an improved awareness among the public about the care and diligence to
be taken to protect their own property. Thirdly, there will be an increased
pressure on the Police Department to improve its efficiency with respect to
recovery of stolen properties.
The amount of
money that is to be dispensed, as sum assured for unrecoverable stolen
properties will be used as an important indicator to judge the efficiency of the
police department in various units. It can be easily inferred that if the money
dispensed is less, the more efficient the police department is. This will
naturally create competition among police personnel belonging to various
districts of the state and will bring down the total dispensation to the barest
minimum and thereby improving the efficiency of the Police Department as whole.
beneficiaries of this scheme will be the citizens of the entire state at a
minimum cost to the State or Central Government concerned. Beneficiaries will
include the poor and downtrodden who could not afford the cost of insurance to
protect their properties. For instance, people who already own a motorized
vehicle would have necessarily taken an Insurance Policy for their property and
these people would not the beneficiaries under this scheme. Poor people who
cannot afford such a protection will be real beneficiaries of this scheme. It
will also be gratifying to the middle class taxpayers and the affluent.
would have a salutary effect on the policy and administrative machinery in terms
of enhanced professionalism and freer registration of cases with lesser reliance
on window dressing of the statistics of performance, in terms of crime
of assurance to recovery effected would serve as an comparative index of police
performance of each police unit/district.
This scheme is a unique initiation. This type of scheme has
not been implemented anywhere in the world and once implemented in any country,
that Government will be the first in the world to initiate, introduce and make
it a grand success, which will then become a model for the entire globe.
About the Author:
Prateep V. Philip is a member of the Indian
Police Service. Currently, he is the Inspector General of Police, Social Justice
and Human Rights, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, India. During his law enforcement career,
he has served as the as District Superintendent of Police of Four Districts, SP,
Narcotics Intelligence Bureau of Tamil Nadu, Principal, Police Training College
and as DIG, CB CID (Special Investigation Team) Chennai, DIG Intelligence, DIG
Tirunelveli Range. He has a BA in Economics, Political Science and History; an
MA in Political Science and International Relations; and, a PhD in Public
Dr. Prateep V. Philip is the author of The Friends of Police Movement: A
Roadmap for Proactive People Protection.