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On police complaints authority, AP complies with SC order

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Amaravati, Aug 12: The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy regime in Andhra Pradesh has come out with a modified set of Police Complaints Authority (PCA) rules, with the head of the state level PCA proposed to be chosen from a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice.

On police complaints authority, AP complies with SC order

The PAC is mandated to look into complaints against officers of the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police and above. It shall take into cognisance allegations of serious misconduct by the police personnel, which would include incidents involving death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody, news agency PTI reported.

The powers the government originally sought to confer upon itself, though the 2020 rules, have now been bestowed on the High Court Chief Justice through the fresh set of rules issued on August 1, in line with Supreme Court orders.

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The 2022 rules were published in the state gazette on August 10.

With this, the government will now have to constitute the state and district PCAs afresh, news agency PTI reported.

The state government drafted the Andhra Pradesh State District Level Police Complaints Authority (Administration and Procedure) Rules, 2020 in October 2020.

It suffered a major setback in the High Court last year over the application of the said rules, forcing it now to follow the 2006 SC orders in the Prakash Singh case (related to police reforms) and a 2017 order of the High Court for the states of AP and Telangana.

In 2020, the state government took the power upon itself in constituting the PCAs.

In June 2021, it appointed a retired judge of Madras High Court, Justice V Kanagaraj as the state PCA chairman, modifying its own rules framed in October 2020. That, however, did not stand legal scrutiny as the High Court in September suspended his appointment order as Justice Kanagaraj was well past the prescribed age.

In fact, the state PCA Chairman is supposed to be selected from a panel of names proposed by the High Court Chief Justice, as per the Supreme Court order, but the Jagan regime went ahead with Justice Kanagaraj's appointment.

Even as the litigation over the appointment is yet to be disposed of, the state government has decided to comply with the Supreme Court order and accordingly amended the rules, highly-placed official sources said. The state-level head will be a retired judge of either the Supreme Court or the High Court.

Interestingly, the maximum age limit earlier set at 65 years for the PCA chairman has now been removed.

The new rules prescribe that the chairman of the district PCA shall be chosen from a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice or a judge of the High Court.

Under the new rules, retired IAS officers cannot be considered for appointment as chairman of either the state or the district PCAs.

The district-level PCAs will look into complaints against officers up to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

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