CHRI expresses concern over the delay in constituting an independent PCA in Delhi
Today was the fifth hearing of a public interest litigation asking the court to direct the government to set up an independent Police Complaints Authority (PCA) for the residents of Delhi. However, confusion between counsels as to who was rightfully representing the Delhi Police derailed the matter from going any further – again. In determining this, the Hon’ble Court’s time was wasted and no arguments could be advanced.
Ten years ago, the Supreme Court of India in Prakash Singh & Ors. vs UOI & Ors. [(2006)8 SCC 1] ordered all government, Central and state, to set up independent PCAs. At first the Central government intended just one PCA would cover all union territories. But later, in 2010 decided to set up individual police complaints authorities for each union territory and acceded to the Delhi government’s request to allow its already existing Public Grievances Commission (PGC) to also act as the police complaints authority. This was to be an interim arrangement until the enactment of a New Delhi Police Act. This never happened. In fact it was another two years before the PGC was notified to take on the job of receiving complaints against the police.
Given that none of this was at all in compliance with the Supreme Court’s specific directions about the structure and mandate of a police complaints authority the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative filed its public interest litigation (PIL) asking for the immediate constitution of an independent police complaints authority strictly to be set up in accordance with the Supreme Court’s original directions.
“There has been a complete non-compliance of the Prakash Singh Directive. Through this petition, CHRI seeks a direction from the Court that will facilitate the setting up of an independent PCA. Although the matter is listed for 8th September for arguments, I sincerely hope action is taken before that to set up a PCA”, said Rebecca John, Counsel for CHRI.
From the very first hearing, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Delhi government through their individual affidavits have agreed that an independent PCA must be set up at the earliest. On 5th October 2015, one month after the PIL was filed, the MHA directed the Lieutenant Governor to issue a notification immediately to ‘reconstitute the Police Complaints Authority in respect of National Capital Territory of Delhi in conformity with the direction of the Hon’ble Supreme Court” and to place before the High Court “ a report of the action taken in this regard” CHRI’s RTIs to the office of the LG seeking to know what action has in fact been taken have been met with the reply that “since the matter is sub-judice no action has been taken on the letter.” Most recently counsel for the Government of the NCT of Delhi placed on the court’s record that the “MHA, GOI has been requested by the L.G. Secretariat, Delhi to convene an early meeting in the Ministry regarding constitution of PCA for Delhi in pursuance of directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Prakash Singh & Ors. vs UOI & Ors.”.
“And that, after 10 years, several court cases, and many many complaints against the police by the public going unaddressed is where the matter stands today.” Said Maja Daruwala, Director of CHRI.
For further information contact:
Devika Prasad : firstname.lastname@example.org ; +91 98107 27469
Vibha Vasuki: email@example.com ; +91 96209 20392
Twitter hashtag: #DelhiPCA