Strict anti-narcotics laws prevail in Goa. Drug related offences are a special category of Cognizable and Non-Bailable offences and are prosecuted under The Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1985. The punishment under this Act ranges from 6 months to a maximum of 30 years depending upon the nature of the offence. There is a provision for preventive detention and also a provision for forfeiture of property. There is also a provision for death penalty for certain offences after previous convictions, under this Act. The cases are registered and investigated by officers of the rank of Police-Sub Inspector and above. There is also a special Narcotics Cell to aid its investigation.
For those unable to afford Legal Aid, there is a provision for Free Legal Aid. To prevent gender discrimination, only a policewoman can arrest a woman suspect. There is a new Women’s Police Cell that deals with crimes against women.
The Goa Children’s Act of 2003 outlines the penalties for child abuse both physical and sexual which can result in being behind bars for anything between 3 and 10 years.
If you have been a witness or a victim of a crime, you have an obligation to report it to the Police Control Room or dial 100. If necessary, please proceed with your information or complaint to the nearest Police Station or Outpost. Your complaint will be registered. If it is a Cognizable Offence it will be called as the FIR (First Information Report). The investigation then begins. In case it is a Non-Cognizable Offence, you will be given a receipt of your complaint.
The organization of Police Services in Goa is very similar to that in the rest of India. The management cadre at the higher level is provided by the elite Indian Police Service (IPS). The headquarters of the Goa Police is in Panaji opposite the Azad Maidan. It is the site of the Old Military Barracks. The Chief of Police is the Director General of Police (D.G.P).
If you encounter any difficulty or resistance while registering your complaint at the local Police Station, please contact the Police Inspector in Charge of that Police Station. You can also proceed up the hierarchy and contact the Sub Divisional Police Officer (Dy SP) or the District Superintendent of Police or the Deputy Inspector General of Police. Their telephone numbers are displayed at each and every Police Station.
A Cognizable Offence includes murders, rape, kidnapping, abductions, robberies, drug related crimes etc. In every case of a cognizable offence, the police are required to register it in the First Information Register (F. I. R.) and investigate the offence. In its investigation, the Police are empowered to arrest a person without a warrant. Cognizable Offences are again categorized into Bailable and Non-Bailable offences.
In a Bailable offence, the accused is normally entitled to bail, provided sureties and or the bail amount document is made available to the authorities concerned.
In a Non-Bailable offence, it is only the court which is empowered to grant bail to the accused. Any arrested person shall be produced by the Police before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest. The complainant/accused person is entitled to avail legal advice during the process. If arrested, one is entitled to get information about the reasons of the arrest and the search of one’s premises. This information is obtainable from the Investigating Officer.
A Non-Cognizable offence includes petty offences such as committing public nuisance, abusing, slapping, quarrels within the family or with neighbors, etc. In case of a Non-Cognizable offence, police have no authority to either investigate the matter or to arrest the persons concerned without the prior permission of the local Magistrate.