Three months on, headless police plaints body fails to take up cases | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Three months on, headless police plaints body fails to take up cases

With scores of complainants moving from pillar to post, not even a single complaint has been heard by the Police Complaint Authority (PCA), which has been headless for nearly three months, since the Punjab and Haryana high court quashed the appointment of Pardeep Mehra, former UT adviser on August 19, as its chairman.

punjab Updated: Nov 09, 2015 12:18 IST
Gurpreet Singh Chhina
Pardeep Mehra.
Pardeep Mehra.

With scores of complainants moving from pillar to post, not even a single complaint has been heard by the Police Complaint Authority (PCA), which has been headless for nearly three months, since the Punjab and Haryana high court quashed the appointment of Pardeep Mehra, former UT adviser on August 19, as its chairman.

After nearly 70 complaints were being heard in the PCA, letters were issued to the complainants saying that no case could be taken up and there was no need to appear on dates given to them.

They were also informed that the PCA could not give them the next date of hearing and they would be informed once its chairman is appointed.

Seeking anonymity, a PCA official said the complainants were appearing on given dates and since they do not have any official communication about the chairman’s appointment they are asking the complainants to wait for some days.

He said around 10 more complaints have been received against police officials recently.

Cops harassed me, claims Complainant

Prem Singh, a complainant from Sector 37, showed his dissatisfaction over PCA functioning saying that he had a marital dispute and a sub-inspector-rank officer was harassing him at the behest of his wife. He said he approached the PCA against the police official a year ago, but no decision has been taken in the case so far.

Moreover, he has been approaching the PCA to know about the next date of hearing, but to no avail.

Mehra’s appointment was illegal

A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court had quashed the appointment of former UT adviser Pardeep Mehra, a retired IAS officer, as chairperson of the PCA stating that he did not meet the eligibility criteria.

Mehra was appointed as PCA head through a notification on November 8, 2013.

The high court division bench of justice SK Mittal and justice MS Chauhan not only quashed his appointment but also set aside the notification of March 23, 2010, of ministry of home affairs, laying down the terms and conditions, as well as qualifications for the appointment of PCA chief.

The petitioners in the case, advocate HC Arora and RTI activist RK Garg, had contended that in 2006, the Supreme Court had pronounced a judgment (in a PIL filed by a former DGP Parkash Singh), directing all states and union territories to set up PCAs at the state/UT level, and also at the district level in their respective states for hearing complaints of misbehaviour, misuse of powers etc on the part of police officers.

The state-level PCAs were to be headed by retired judges of high courts or the apex court and the appointment was to be made by the state governments/UT administrations after inviting a panel of retired judges from the court they worked at.

Although purportedly acting in compliance with the apex court judgment, the UT issued a notification in March 2010 laying down norms for the appointment wherein retired bureaucrats apart from judges were also allowed to be appointed as PCA head.

The petitioner had argued that the notification was in gross violation of the SC judgment and sought quashing of Mehra’s appointment.

Appointment in process: Home secy

UT home secretary Anurag Aggarwal said they have invited a panel of retired judges to appoint the chairman soon.

Why Mehra’s appointment was quashed?

A HC bench had quashed the appointment of former UT adviser Pardeep Mehra, a retired IAS officer, as chairperson of the PCA stating that he did not meet the eligibility criteria.

Mehra was appointed as PCA head through a notification on November 8, 2013.

The bench not only quashed his appointment but also set aside the notification of March 23, 2010, of ministry of home affairs, laying down

The terms and conditions, as well as qualifications for the appointment of PCA chief.

The petitioners had contended that in 2006, the SC had pronounced a judgment directing all states and UTs to set up PCAs for hearing complaints of misbehaviour, misuse of powers etc on the part of police officers.

The state-level PCAs were to be headed by retired SC/HC judges and the appointment was to be made by the state governments/UT administrations after inviting a panel of retired judges from the courts they worked at.

Although purportedly acting in compliance with the apex court judgment, the UT issued a notification in March 2010 laying down norms for the appointment wherein retired bureaucrats apart from judges were also allowed to be appointed as PCA head.