Delhi to have a Police Complaints Authority

(Sunday Guardian live)

Delhi will soon have an independent Police Complaints Authority (PCA) that would deal with complaints from common citizens against police personnel on matters like custodial death, custodial rape, extortion or any serious abuse of power.

The notification, setting out the basic framework for the PCA, was released by the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi on 31 January this year. The notification said that “the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi is pleased to constitute the PCA for the National Capital Territory to deal with complaints against Delhi police as had been directed by the Supreme Court in 2006”.  The three-member PCA would be headed by a chairperson who would be a retired judge of the High Court and the two other members would be a retired senior civil servant and a senior police officer not below the rank of Joint Commissioner of Police. The notification also mandates that one of the three members of the commission has to be a woman.

However, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), one of the petitioners in the case, has pointed out loopholes in the notification and has demanded that the jurisdiction of the PCA must be clearly laid down in the notification.

They have also demanded that there should be more than one PCA in Delhi, keeping in mind the huge police force in Delhi Police.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Devika Prasad, Coordinator Police Reforms, CHRI, said, “We are very happy that an independent PCA is going to come up in Delhi, but there still exists some gaps in the notification which should be addressed. There should be at least three PCAs in Delhi as the number of personnel in Delhi Police is huge, which is bound to have a huge number of complaints. Not only this, we also recommend that a complaint being made a citizen should be accepted in the form of a letter rather than a sworn affidavit as has been mentioned in the notification to give maximum accessibility to the people.”

She further added that, not only “serious misconduct”, but also “misconduct” should be enquired into by the PCA when filed by a common man and an independent investigation through retired CID, Intelligence or Vigilance personnel should be carried out.

N. Dilip Kumar, for IPS officer in Delhi Police and member of the Public Grievance Commission, told The Sunday Guardian, “What is most important for an independent PCA is independent investigation and enquiry into the complaint because if the Vigilance department of the police has to give a report, it will be a botched up report. Therefore, this authority will have to ensure that fairness has to be maintained. Moreover, the notification does not talk about the funding of the PCA—who will fund it and who would have control over it.”

The Supreme Court mandated for a PCA to be set up in every state way back in 2006, but Delhi only got a PCA in 2012 which was attached to the Public Grievance Commission of the Delhi Government, but after the CHRI intervened in the matter and filed a petition before the Delhi High Court, the decision to set up an independent PCA was taken up by the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi in January this year.

However, the situation across the country is also grim. Only three states—Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh—have a PCA in place, but even then, the PCAs are not available in all the districts. Read More