Though the police is vested with the power to impose Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act (KAAPA) against habitual law-breakers, it is seldom used. Of the several criminal cases reported in the city over the past few years, KAAPA has been evoked only against a few.
KAAPA was introduced in 2007 to prevent anti-social activities and to curb notorious criminals. The police with the approval of the district collector can detain a person for six months under the Act. The Act can be imposed on persons engaged in more than two criminal cases of grave nature.
However, according to the data available with the police, only six persons were detained under KAAPA this year so far. As many as 13 reports were sent to the District Collector for evoking KAAPA but only five reports got approval. Of this, one person challenged it before the High Court and got relieved. While one person is absconding, two have completed the detention period and one is serving the detention.
In 2007, when the KAAPA was introduced, the police in the city had sent reports to District Collector for evoking KAAPA against 22 persons. In 2008, reports were sent against 10 persons, while in 2009 it was against 11 persons. The number diminished over the next three years, with only 13 reports being sent. Interestingly, over the last three years, more than 300 cases of murder, murder attempt and dacoity were reported in the city. When ‘City Express’ spoke to some police officers, they said that the reports were not being sent to the District Collector mainly because of the laborious procedures.
Even though the detention cases are few, the Police Commissioner has been using the other provisions of KAAPA by which he has restricted some from entering the city limits.
Under this provision, order has been given to 15 persons not to enter the city limits, this year alone. Another police officer said that the number of criminal and habitual offenders has decreased over the years. “Most often when the report is sent to District Collector, it takes several months for him or her to evoke KAAPA. By the time the person might come to know about the police decision to detain him and abscond. Moreover, when the police sent reports against 10 persons, the District Collector gave approval only for five. So most police officers are not interested in using KAAPA against habitual criminals,” he said.