Punjab assembly passes Punjab Police Bill

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Chandigarh, Dec 24 (UNI) The Punjab assembly today passed the Punjab Police Bill amidst fears expressed by members that it could give the police unbridled powers and do away with the concept of accountablity.

However Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who moved the Bill which seeks to set up a Punjab Police Commission, sought to assure the House that the Bill seeks to make the police force professional, people friendly and free from external influence.

" The main aim of the police in the 1861 Act was prevention and detction of crime, but now we have laid a lot of emphasis on duty of the police towards the public", Mr Badal said as the House passed the Bill by voice vote.

Stress has been laid on the duty of the police towards the public and prevention of harassement of innocent persons, particularly women and children, he said. The Bill also lays stress on police training and establishing a Police Rsearch Wing, he added.

The concept of community policing has also been included and Community Research Centres would be established, he said. " The authority of the elected representatives have not been undermined in the Bill", he said while allying fears of members that the Bill tends to ignore the rights of elected representatives towards the public.

Regarding the views of certain Opposition members that certain clauses of the Bill were violative of the directions of the Supreme Court in the Parkash Singh and others versus Government of India and others petition, Mr Badal pointed out that the legislature was the law making authority and it was for the judiciary to interpret the laws. The appointment of the DGP was the right of the state government, he said with reference to objections by members that the Apex Court had in its judgement stated that the DGP should be appointed by the Central Police Commission from amongst a panel of names forwarded by the state.

Earlier while taking part in the debate, Sunil Jakhar (Cong) said that the Bill has made no mention of including the Leader of Opposition in the State Police Commission as per the Supreme Courts directions. He also pointed out that the functions of the state and district level accountablity committees to keep a check and balance on the police force had not been elborated in the Bill.

Chief Parliamentary Secretary Jagdish Sawhney (BJP) wanted that the Police Bill should be reconsidered as it would promote 'police Raj'. Similar fears were also expressed by Ajit Inder Singh Mofar (Cong) who also pointed out that the Bill had not laid stress on strengthening the traffic wing of the police.

Randeep Singh (Cong) who intiated the debate strogly pleaded that the Bill should be refered to a House Select Committee for reconsideration. He pointed out that the Bill defines the tenure of the DGP to one year while as the Supreme Court had favoured a two year tenure.

The House also passed the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendement) Bill.

UNI

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