Centre to setup police complaints authority at Union Territory level

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New Delhi, Mar 25 (ANI): The Union Home Ministry on Thursday decided to set up police complaints authority at the Union Territory (UT) level.

In a statement, the Ministry has asked the UT Administrations to take necessary steps immediately for setting up of the police complaints authority accordingly.

Home Ministry's decision has come in pursuance of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh and Ors Vs. Union of India, case.

According to the Home Ministry, the police complaints authorities of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshdweep will be a single member authority.

However, Home Ministry said that in the case of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh, there would be chairperson and two members and in the case of Delhi, chairperson plus three members.

In a statement, the ministry said that the chairperson and members of the police complaints authority of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi and Pondicherry would be appointed by the Administrator of the Union Territory concerned.

The chairperson of the Authority of the Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep will be appointed by the UT Administration in consultation with the Central Government, the statement added.

"They (chairperson and members) can be removed only after giving them an opportunity to be heard and after prior approval of the Central Government," the Home Ministry said.

The functions of the police complaints authority will be to inquire into allegations of "serious misconduct", like death in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempt to commit rape, arrest or detention without due process of law, extortion, land and house grabbing.

The authority would also look into the complaints regarding incident involving serious abuse of authority against police personnel.

Home Ministry said that the authority can register a report either suo moto or on a complaint received from a victim or any person on his or her behalf, the National or the State Human Rights Commission, the police, or any other source.

The Authority shall inquire into a complaint of such arrest or detention, only if it is satisfied prima facie about the veracity of the complaint.

In the cases directly inquired by the authority, it may, upon completion of the inquiry, communicate its findings to the police officer heading the police force in the UT with a direction to register a First Information Report (FIR) or initiate departmental action based on such findings, duly forwarding the evidence collected by it to the police.

The directions of the Authority shall ordinarily be binding, unless for the reasons to be recorded in writing, the UT Administration decides to disagree with the findings of the Authority.

The Authority may submit its findings in a case within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of the complaint and in case of inability to meet the deadline, the Authority may submit a report showing reasons therefor to the Administrator.

Home Ministry said that each police complaints authority will be a computer-based office. (ANI)

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