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Ex-DGP dubs act 'fraud' - Govt faces flak over Assam Police Act

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  • Published 30.05.11

Guwahati, May 29: Former Assam director-general of police Prakash Singh today described the Assam Police Act, 2007, as a fraud on the people of the state, leaving the state government red-faced.

Speaking at a seminar on Police Accountability and the Civil Society here today, the retired IPS officer said the act did not comply with the Supreme Court’s directives on police reforms. He said the government had violated the letter and spirit of the apex court guidelines by passing the act without conforming to these guidelines.

Singh, who also served as director-general of BSF and DGP, Uttar Pradesh, said the Supreme Court had stated that the state security commission should not be dominated by government officials but in Assam, the commission was, in fact, dominated by government bureaucrats.

“The Supreme Court has stated that the DGP of the state shall be selected by the government from amongst the three seniormost officers of the department who have been empanelled for promotion by the Union Public Service Commission through a merit-based and transparent process. It also states that the DGP should have a minimum tenure of two years.”

“However, the Assam Police Act stipulates that the DGP will be selected by the state government from among a group of five candidates empanelled by the commission and his tenure is fixed for a year, which is in direct violation of the directive,” he said.

According to him, the Police Establishment Board, that decides on all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of police officers of and below the rank of deputy superintendent of police, is only a recommendatory authority without any autonomy.

“Moreover, the government has failed to adhere to the Supreme Court’s directive that the chairman of the state police accountability commission must be selected by the state government from among a panel of names recommended by the Chief Justice. However, according to the Assam Police Act, the chairman is selected by the state government,” Singh said.

“I wish some NGO takes it up and moves the court seeking remedies,” he said.

Singh said the state governments enacted the state police acts in a hurry because the apex court had ruled in 2006 that its directions or guidelines will be binding upon the governments till they framed an “appropriate legislation”.

The seminar was jointly organised by the commission and the Assam State Legal Services Authority at the Assam Administrative Staff College.

Commission chairman Justice (retd) D.N. Chowdhury said they had received 144 complaints of misconduct and delinquency by police personnel and out of them, 106 complaints had been disposed of.

“In many of these cases, we have recommended action against the guilty police officers and majority of our recommendations have been accepted by the state government,” Chowdhury said.

He said the objective behind the seminar was to create awareness among the masses about the role and functioning of the commission.

Speaking at the seminar, Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court Madan B. Lokur said the role of the commission was to “guard the guards”.

When contacted for the government’s reaction on the statement made by Singh, sources in the chief minister’s office told The Telegraph that police reforms were among the top priorities of the new government.

Senior bureaucrats, police officials and lawyers, among others, attended the seminar.