February 6, 2018
New Delhi, India
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) supports the Delhi High Court’s approval today of a notification constituting a Police Complaints Authority (PCA) for Delhi, as paving the path to a strengthened police complaints body for the nation’s capital. CHRI will engage with the relevant government authorities to ensure Delhi’s first independent PCA is effective.
The Office of the Lieutenant Governor submitted the notification setting out a basic framework for a PCA on 31 January, 2018. It sets up a Police Complaints Authority to inquire into complaints/allegations against Delhi Police personnel on matters of custodial rape, custodial death, extortion or any serious abuse of authority.
The creation of a Police Complaints Authority for Delhi goes back 11 years. In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered all states and union territories to set up PCAs as one of seven directives to usher in police accountability. A PCA is intended to be a free-standing, independent adjudicator with diverse membership, to act as a remedy for the public and a corrective on the police.
In 2012, after a six year gap, the Delhi government with the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the mandate of the existing Public Grievances Commission in the city to also respond to complaints against the police. As this was in total violation of the Court’s directive, CHRI filed a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2015 seeking an independent specialised PCA.
CHRI’s essential demand has been met as the notification creates a PCA that largely fits the model set out by the Supreme Court. We point to some remaining gaps and have prepared recommendations to make the PCA more robust.
“CHRI welcomes this long-awaited step towards strengthened police accountability in Delhi. We will continue to engage with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Delhi government, and the Ministry of Home Affairs to address the remaining gaps and assist in the development of an independent and effective PCA for Delhi,” said Devika Prasad, Coordinator, Police Reform Programme CHRI.
Please find a link to the note with CHRI’s analysis and recommendations on the latest notification: Click here
For more information, please contact: Devika Prasad
Coordinator, Police Reforms Programme
Kavita Bajeli-Datt, Communications Officer