Illegal firms slip through legal loophole | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Illegal firms slip through legal loophole

Discrepancies in the system to monitor security agencies, and loopholes in the law, ensure that even your best precautions may not be good enough.

mumbai Updated: Aug 31, 2012 00:45 IST
Puja Changoiwala

Discrepancies in the system to monitor security agencies, and loopholes in the law, ensure that even your best precautions may not be good enough.

Former IPS officer and now a lawyer, YP Singh says that a major problem with the legislation governing security agencies in the state is that it is more of a labour legislation than a security legislation.

The Maharashtra Security Guards Act, Singh says, focuses on service conditions for security guards and has little room for insistence on professional efficiency.

"Also, security guards working for housing societies are not covered under the Act. It mainly covers industrial and office establishments. Hence, agencies working with housing societies usually go unchecked," Singh says.

Singh adds that a new Act, a central legislation that covers housing societies, has been in the pipeline, but is yet to be executed.

He says that as the Central law is already in place, the Maharashtra government should set up a rule requiring compulsory registration and licensing of security agencies and their security guards.

"Even if the state enacts such a rule, people still have to commit to their own safety. If the rule is enacted, it is obvious that security bills for housing societies will skyrocket. But people must pay this amount willingly in order to address security concerns," he adds.

After the Private Security Agency Regulation Act came into force in 2005, it was implemented in 22 states across the country.

However, experts say that unlike other states that have a single controlling authority for security agencies, Maharashtra has 16 such controlling bodies for various regions in the state.

Gurcharan Singh, president of the Security Association of India, says that like the other states, the controlling authority was the principal secretary of the home department.

However, only in Maharashtra, the department transferred its powers to various police commissioners, thereby leading to zero coordination amongst them.

"In February this year, licences of 77 agencies were cancelled by the Navi Mumbai police commissioner for providing bogus addresses, not training the guards, etc. However, they could not crack down on illegal agencies registered with other controlling authorities in the state," he says.

"Only a drive by the police to check which agency is licensed and which one is illegal can ensure complete security for housing societies. Licensing authorities have to initiate a crackdown," says PK Jain, former managing director of Maharashtra State Security Corporation.