Thursday, Jul 07, 2022

Assam to activate district level Police Accountability Commission: CM

Opposition parties legislators had expressed apprehensions that the power of the State Police Accountability Commission was attempted to be diluted by excluding/replacing 'misconduct' with 'serious misconduct'.

The Assam Police (Amendment) Bill was unanimously passed by the House. PTI Photo

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said the government will initiate steps to start the district level Police Accountability Commission in the next Assembly session to decentralise the power of the state body.

Speaking after the passage of The Assam Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was unanimously passed, Sarma said the government has no intention to dilute the power of the State Police Accountability Commission, Assam, and is looking to define the power of the body as stated by a Supreme Court judgement.

"In the next Assembly session we will take steps to activate the district level Accountability commission, which will have the jurisdiction to deal with complaints against police personnel up to the DSP level, while those in SP level and above will continue to be looked after by the state body, Sarma told the Assembly.

The chief minister said the government has already formed a committee to work on the activation of the district level Police Accountability Commission, which will decentralise the power of the state accountability authority.

"Assam for some historical reasons did not activate the district Accountability Commission. So, all the responsibility came to the state commission. This led to pendency of cases also," he added.

The Assam Police (Amendment) Bill seeks to remove ambiguities in functioning of state-level Police Accountability Commission vis-a-vis other constitutional and statutory authorities, said Sarma, who also holds the Home portfolio.

Among the amendments passed is the deletion of certain categories from the explanation under the term 'serious misconduct' with regard to complaints taken up by the state-level accountability commission against any police personnel.

Allegations of arrest or detention without due process of law, forceful deprivation of a person of his rightful ownership or possession of property, blackmail or extortion and non-registration of FIR against police personnel were omitted from definition of 'serious misconduct'.

"This is being done as per the Supreme Court judgement in the Prakash Singh case. The district level commission will have all the omitted categories in the 'misconduct'. It is being removed from the state body only," Sarma said.

Any wilful breach or neglect by a police officer of any law, rule, regulation which adversely affects the rights of any member of the public, excluding what is defined as 'serious misconduct', will fall under 'misconduct' category in the context of the amendments, the bill said.


With inputs from PTI.