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It's Time to Set up Police Complaints Authority: Experts

When a corruption case against a cop is examined by another police officer, there will always be doubts about its fair outcome.

Published: 13th January 2014 08:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2014 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

When a corruption case against a cop is examined by another police officer, there will always be doubts about its fair outcome. That is why we need an independent authority to conduct a neutral, unbiased probe, say activists. This perhaps is the only way to make the police officers equal before the law. In the current setup, it is the police who investigate complaints against their own personnel. For the activists, this is simply unfair. “Creating a complaints authority is the need of the hour. It will benefit both the public and the police. The authority can also hear grievances of police personnel. When two former top police officers fought a legal battle for the DGP’s post, they quoted certain parts of the 2006 Supreme Court judgment in their favour. But when the officers were in authority, they failed to implement the other directives, including creation of the complaints authority,” says Henri Tiphagne, executive director of People’s Watch, a human rights organisation.

Between 1979 and 1981, the National Police Commission had envisaged creation of such independent complaint authorities at the State and district levels. The Supreme Court too in the Prakash Singh case in 2006, issued seven specific directives, one of which was the creation of a Police Complaints Authority at the State and district levels. The State government recently passed a new Police Act, which provides for creation of a police complaints authority. Unfortunately, it is yet to be implemented. The inquiry conducted by the authority would replace the internal disciplinary inquiry. The authority can recommend suitable disciplinary punishment to the appointing authority, which will be bound by it. The authority can also recommend the registration of a FIR against the erring police officer.

However, senior police officers say creation of such an independent authority would affect the established tradition of hierarchy in the police. “In TN police, the system of police officers monitoring the work of their subordinates is well established. If the authority is given to an outside body, it will only undermine the authority of the officer. This is not good for the department’s smooth functioning,” says former DGP R Nataraj. “Already there is multiplicity of statutory bodies to which the police are answerable. Adding more will only burden them,” he opines.



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