Citizens who have complaints about the high-handedness of policemen, unnecessary detention, physical abuse in custody, rape or sexual harassment or corruption will now have a forum where they can direct their grievances and get their complaints addressed.
In a bid to keep a check on severe abuse of authority by the police and secure the rights of citizens under the rule of law, the state government has initiated the process of forming a police complaints authority. This authority will also help release pressure off courts that are burdened by numerous litigations related to police issues.
Formed six years after the Supreme Court’s directive on police reforms in September 2006, the authority will deal with complaints against officers of all ranks. Further, it comes with teeth, as its recommendations against police officials will be binding on the agencies.
The complaints handled by the authority will be of specific in nature and include deaths in police custody, grievous hurt or injuries, rape or attempt to rape, arrest or detention without law and allegations of corruption.
The court has directed the state to form the authority by June 20, 2013.
“The formation of this authority will lead to a tectonic change in the functioning of the state’s police system. What is important is that the complaints authority can take suo-moto cognisance of the case and even forward a case directly to the DGP for action,” a senior government official said.
The state will be setting up a police complaints authority at the state level and the district level. While the state-level authority will look into complaints against officers of the rank of superintendent of police (SP) and above, the district authority will look into those against police officers up to the rank of deputy superintendent of police (DYSP).
A retired judge of the high court or Supreme Court will head the state-level authority and a district judge will chair the district panel. Both judges will be assisted by about three to five full-time members who will be retired civil servants, retired police officers or from the civil society.