KOCHI: The previous LDF government’s plan to introduce a police Commissionerate system in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, granting magisterial powers to city police commissioners, was put on hold after the LDF constituent Communist Party of India (CPI) strongly opposed it.
On August 11, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the state assembly about the government order to elevate police forces in Kochi and Thiruvananthpuram as Metropolitan Police force, and that only the notification was pending.
He added that Metropolitan Police forces in both these cities will have magisterial powers, except the power granted under Section 3(2) of the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act (KAAPA). Officials at the home department said procedures for issuing the notification are under way and awaiting approval from the chief minister’s office.
Official sources said they don’t anticipate any obstacles in implementing the Metropolitan Policing system in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. “The bone of contention was whether to hand over the detention powers under KAAPA to police heads in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The power is currently vested with district collectors. Since the CM said that the power won’t be given away, the road ahead seems smooth,” an officer said.
Going by books
Major cities of neighbouring like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had implemented the metropolitan policing system years ago. Section 20 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, grants the state government the power to appoint as many executive magistrates ‘as it thinks fit in every district and metropolitan area. Also, Section 20(5) provides for conferring the powers of an executive magistrate on a Commissioner of Police in a metropolitan area. Section 8 of CrPC grants power to the state government to declare any area in the state comprising a city or town with a population of more than one million as a metropolitan area.