Police Discretion in India : Legal and Extralegal Factors book cover
1st Edition

Police Discretion in India
Legal and Extralegal Factors

  • Available for pre-order on June 23, 2023. Item will ship after July 14, 2023
ISBN 9781032496382
July 14, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge India
248 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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USD $170.00

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Book Description

This book is the first empirical study of police discretion in India. Going beyond anecdotal accounts, it addresses the issues and concerns of arrest discretion behaviour of police with analysis of available literature internationally, testing the validity in the context of police in India and explaining the gap that exists between the legislative intent and field law enforcement. It establishes how extralegal determinants like subculture, environment, and situations influence arrest discretion as much as legal determinants such as statutes, rules, manuals, and court rulings. It also provides vital explanations on the workings of the police system in India.

The volume will be of great interest to policy makes, police leaders, officers of judiciary, scholars and researchers of criminology and criminal justice, sociology and social anthropology and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Police discretion; Factors influencing discretion: 2. Police discretion; Laws and policies in India: 3. Measuring the factors influencing arrest discretion: 4. The interplay of legal and extra-legal factors 5. The Effects of Individual and Situational Factors on Arrest Discretion. Conclusion: Findings and Recommendations. 

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Satyajit Mohanty belongs to 1988 batch of Indian Police Service. In a career spanning over more than three decades, Mohanty has been posted at senior leadership positions in a number of police Districts and Ranges, Police Commissionerate, Police Headquarters, Prisons and Correctional Services and Fire and Civil Defence Organisation in Odisha, India. He has also served as the Chairman of the Odisha Public Service Commission.

He holds M.Sc. and LL.B. degree from Utkal University, Master Degree in Human Rights from Pondicherry University and PGPPM from IIM, Bangalore & Maxwell School of Public Policy, Syracuse University, USA. He has been awarded Ph.D. degree in Law by the National Law University Odisha, India.

He is a recipient of Police (Antrik Suraksha Seva) Medal, Police Medal for Meritorious Service and President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.


"Police discretion is a vast domain of power which can be used for doing reasonably good for those who are subject to it. Police play a significant role in weighing the balance in the life of the people it governs. One of the attributes of such exercise of discretion is the power to arrest, which exercised judiciously benefits and when abused, harms. This academic work by Dr. Satyajit Mohanty, IPS (retd) is significant in understanding and broadening one’s view on such discretion used by the police and how it can evolve for the greater good."

Justice K.G Balakrishnan Former Chief Justice of India


“An outstanding book meticulously researched and the fact that it is written by an insider (former police officer) makes it insightful. The author's extensive research and work on a subject which concerns every individual yet has rarely been written about, provides a critical analysis of Indian policing and what ails it and where we need to look to reform Indian policing. It was an eye opener for me!!”


Sidharth Luthra

Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India


“Discourse on police discretion in the context of Indian police is mostly anecdotal as rarely any empirical study has been attempted. The book seeks to address the issues and concerns while the police exercise discretion in their powers of arrest, and explaining at the same time the gaps that exist between the legislative intent and actual law enforcement with compelling findings.”

Prakash Singh

(formerly) Director General of Police Assam, Uttar Pradesh and DG BSF


“Police discretion in arrests can make a critical difference not only to the maintenance of law and order, but also to public trust in the institutions of a democracy like India. Combining considerable primary research and rigorous academic method, and drawing on the author’s decades of experience as a police officer, this book is incredibly important for scholars, lawmakers, and security officials interested in police and law reform.”


Amitav Acharya

Distinguished Professor of International Relations,

American University, Washington DC



“The wide and discretionary arrest powers of police have been the subject of critical debates over the past seventy-five years of Indian independence. An outstanding book written by a distinguished police officer, it explores the processes and methods to prevent its abuse in the best interests of society and police. It is a must read for teachers, scholars, judges, police officers, policy makers and all those who are concerned with the study of abuse of power by the police and its accountability.”


Professor Srikrishna Deva Rao

Vice Chancellor, National Law University Delhi