The Delhi Assembly on Monday passed a bill proposing amendments in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Act, setting up another flashpoint with the Centre and Delhi police as the proposed amendment broadens the scope of magisterial inquiry to ‘any other act which the state government thinks fit for’.
Currently, the Delhi government is empowered to order magisterial probe (SDM inquiry) only in cases of custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman within seven years of her marriage.
“This government does not want to limit the scope of the magisterial inquiry only to custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman but to any other act which the state government thinks fit for a magisterial inquiry,” said the proposal moved by home minister Satyendra Jain.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015, proposes to amend section 176(1) of the CrPC Act through which the government wants to widen its scope to cover any other cases of suspicious disappearance, rapes in police custody and suspicious death.
Even as leader of opposition Vijender Gupta registered his party’s dissent and accused the AAP government of ‘challenging’ the authority of Parliament as the Bill had not been vetted by the Centre before introducing it in Assembly, the ruling benches argued that CrPC is a subject in the Concurrent list, a list of 52 items given in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the criminal procedure code has been amended in the past by several state assemblies including Delhi (in 2011) and the AAP was well within its rights to amend the Code as the NCT Act also provides for a post-facto clearance from the Centre.
“The Bill would ultimately be sent for presidential assent through lieutenant governor. It’s upto the Centre to give nod or reject the Amendment Bill,” Sisodia said while participating in the discussion on the Bill in the Assembly.
Welcoming the amendment, AAP legislators defended the move and targeted Delhi police by stating that when it comes to investigating complaints involving cops, Delhi police has a poor record.
“As per records the percentage of cases wherein chargesheets have been filed has come down to 20% from 53% three years back. To make matters worse, in cases involving cops the percentage dips to as low as 5% and 0% conviction,” said Jain.