Millennium Post

Complaint against cops; top court asks Centre, states, UTs to reply

The Supreme Court on Monday sought responses from the Centre and all state and union territories on a PIL seeking direction to forthwith establish Police Complaints Authorities to hear and decide various complaints, including custodial death and torture, against cops.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notices to Ministry of Home Affairs on the plea of four Goa residents who alleged that they were tortured, stripped naked, racially abused and maliciously prosecuted by the police.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, sought immediate implementation of apex court’s directions given in 2006 in its judgement in the Prakash Singh’s case on police reforms.
The apex court had ordered constitution of the Police Complaints Authority at the district level, to be headed by retired district judges, to look into complaints against police officers up to rank of deputy superintendent of police. It had also said there should be another Police Complaints Authority at the State level, to be headed by former judges of the HCs or the Supreme Court, to look into complaints against officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above. The heads of the PCAs be chosen from the panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice of the State High Courts, it had said. The recommendations of PCAs for any action, departmental or criminal, against a delinquent police officer shall be binding on the authority concerned, the apex court had said.

The PIL, however, alleged even six years after the Supreme Court’s directive, only six states and four union territories have functioning PCAs and ‘there has been an abject failure to comply with the apex court’s directive on the issue.’

‘For a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate, writ order or direction to the Respondent Nos 1 to 29 (Centre, states and UTs) to forthwith establish Police Complaints Authorities in terms of the directions of this court in Prakash Singh’s case and make them fully functional in all the states and Union Territories in India within 3 months,’ it said.

The petition has also sought a direction that only qualified and independent persons be appointed as members of the PCAs.
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