BENGALURU: Justice A S Pachchapure has resigned as the Chairman of the Karnataka State Police Complaints Authority, a body established by the state government to look into complaints against police officers. He took this step as he was fed up of not having any work for extended periods, according to sources close to him. When he was a judge at the Karnataka High Court, he would put in long hours, they said.
However, in his resignation letter sent to Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Justice Pachchapure is said to have cited the reason of not being able to travel to Belagavi every weekend, where he had settled down after his retirement. When contacted, Justice Pachchapure confirmed that he had tendered his resignation letter 10 days ago. As chief of the authority, Justice Pachchapure got a salary on a par with a HC judge.
The state government appointed Pachchapure as the Chairman of the Karnataka State Police Complaints Authority on September 19, 2016 for a three-year term. “In 10 months, the former judge visited 27 districts to ensure the functioning of the District Police Complaints Authorities but he had little work to do and he was not happy about it. For, as a judge in the lower as well as higher judiciary, he used to work for more than eight hours a day. He decided to quit as he felt he would not contribute much to society by sitting idle,” a source close to Justice Pachchapure told Express.
There are no complaints in the majority of the districts, except Udupi and Dakshina Kannada where the District Police Complaints Authorities have received about 10 complaints. Many complaints are sent to the State Police Complaints Authority unaware that the state authority does not deal with complaints against the officers below the the rank of the Superintendent of Police. Therefore, the state authority was doing only the job of a ‘post office’: redirecting such complaints to the districts concerned, sources said.
“There were very few complaints against officers of the rank of SP and above. Majority of the complaints against the police officers are for allegedly abusing their juniors. More than 30 such complaints are pending before the state authority now. Not even a single complaint of serious misconduct was received. Moreover, the authority has only powers to conduct inquiry into complaints and submit a report to the State,” sources said.
Retired judge as chairman
The State Police Complaints Authority is headed by a retired judge of the High Court as Chairman. An IPS officer is Member Secretary and a woman IPS officer and a person from civil society are its members.
Functions of the body
The State Police Complaints Authority looks into complaints against officers of the rank of Superin tendent of Police and above and takes cognizance of allegations of serious misconduct by the police officers. These include incidents involving death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody. On completion of inquiry, if the allegations are proved, the authority forwards its report to the disciplinary authority for appropriate action against the accused officers.