Goa Church flays govt for not holding debate over Police Bill

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Panaji, Jan 27 (PTI) Goa Church has expressed its strongdiscontent over government�s failure to hold public debate onthe draft Goa Police Bill, 2008.

The Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a wingof Goa Church, has expressed disappointment over the SelectCommittee on the Police Bill 2008 of the Goa State Assemblywhich failing to hold public debate and consultations on thedraft Goa Police Bill 2008 and invite public submissions onthe type of police service the communities want.

"It is widely accepted that it is untenable to continue topolice the citizens under the Police Act of 1861, which wasdrafted by the colonial authorities," Fr Maverick Fernandes,Executive Secretary, CSJP, told PTI.

He said that though the council welcomed the initiativeto introduce the Goa Police Bill which was intended to providethe people of Goa with better policing, the Bill in itspresent form has several defects.

"It does not reflect the principles of democraticpolicing; it undermines civil liberties, gives additionalpower to the police without ensuring the requisiteaccountability," he said.

Fr Fernandes said that all these factors together ensurethat police functioning will not improve and the police wouldremain a force that imposes law instead of becoming a servicethat upholds the law. .

He said that the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and all state governments to implement six directives whichwould kick start the reform process.

"These directives were aimed at giving functionalresponsibility to the police in matters of administrationwhile remaining under the supervision of the politicalexecutive and also ensuring that public complaints areaddressed and police accountability is enhanced. Goaimplemented these directives conditionally," Fr Fernandessaid.

The Draft Police Bill which was introduced in thelegislature in August 2008 was later referred to a selectcommittee.

Fr Fernandes stated that the mandate of the selectcommittee was to examine the Bill and come up with its report.

"Several citizen groups and individuals requested theSelect Committee to hold public debate to gather the say ofthe people. This has not been acted upon," he claimed.

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