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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

'Police bill not similar to AFSPA'

Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times  Jammu, February 28, 2013
First Published: 17:46 IST(28/2/2013) | Last Updated: 17:48 IST(28/2/2013)

The draft J&K Police Bill, 2013, which the government was forced to make following the directions of the Supreme Court, doesn't have any provisions with rings of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

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The draft proposes to set up special security zones, only for a limited time, where there has been communal violence or insurgency with an aim to set up special command structure to meet the exigency.

"The government may, by notification, declare any area as a special security zone, when such area is widely and intolerably beset with violence or insurgency or destruction or public property on account of communal and anti-national activities," reads Section 82 of the draft bill.

Section 83 reads: "The government on the recommendations of the DGP may create an appropriate police structure and suitable command, control and response system for each such zone."
A senior official from the home department on the condition of anonymity said there was no co-relation between such zone and AFSPA.

"It's only to establish special command structure in a place seeing flair up of violent activity where special officer has to be posted. Even in Kerala, which doesn't have history of terrorism, their Act has provision for such a zone," said the official.

The government can bar production or sale or entry of explosive material in such zone.
"Where in the draft bill are provisions for special powers to the police, similar provisions are also there in the 1861 Police Act for empowering the government to take necessary measures to contain the situation," said a senior police official.

The draft bill was made after the Supreme Court directions in the Parkash Singh case in 2006. The state governments were directed to comply with seven directives. In November 2010, the SC issued notice to four states for non-compliance of its directives.

The J&K government was pulled up for non-compliance with regard to setting up of state security commission.

The draft Bill proposes the establishment of this commission, headed by the chief minister with the DGP, chief secretary, retired high court judge, three non-official members, one of them women, as its members.

The commission will review and evaluate the organisational performance of the police in whole and in each district and will present its report at the end of the year.

"We have studied all bills of all states and also the model police bill. It was prepared after a two-year exercise. It's a step ahead of even other states. A wrong perception is being developed which is not in good taste," said a senior police official.

Genesis of Police Bill

1996: Two retired DGPs - Prakash Singh and NK Singh -file a PIL in the Supreme Court

April 28, 2008: The Supreme Court considers establishing a monitoring committee

December 18, 2008: The Supreme Court hearing declines to rule on contempt before MC's report comes back

July 21, 2009: The Supreme Court hearing declines to rule on contempt with CJI stating, "Not a single state government is willing to cooperate. What can we do?"

August 2010: The monitoring committee sends its final report to the court

November 8, 2010: The Supreme Court issues notice to four states - Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal for total non-compliance.


Draft bill proposes

The DGP will be appointed by the government from among the three senior most officers of the state cadre of IPS officers on the recommendations of the screening committee headed by chief secretary.

If there is no suitable candidate, the government can ask the screening committee to empanel officers from other states.

The DGP will have a minimum tenure of two years.

The draft bill proposes setting up of commissioner in cities having population of more than 10 lakh.

The commissioner will have some magisterial powers for effective policing.

IGP, commissioner, DIG, SP, deputy SP and SHO to have a minimum tenure of two years.

All vacancies in subordinate ranks to be filled by the Police Recruitment Board.


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