The Supreme Court ordered all states to commence restructuring their police forces in 2006. The Supreme Court of India issued seven instructions for police institutional change in its 2006 verdict in the Prakash Singh case. The seven instructions included the establishment of several jurisdictions, procedural changes, and more openness. The formation of a Police Complaint Authority was one of the seven instructions (PCA). These guidelines, considered combined, were intended to accelerate the reform process. The Court has ordered all state governments and union territories to create Police Complaints Authorities (PCAs) at the state and district levels, as soon as possible. The development of specific police complaints organizations has long been a long-standing demand regarding police reform in India, due to a large number of complaints against the police and the endemic unaccountability.
CASE: PRAKASH SINGH VS UNION OF INDIA
Prakash Singh worked as the DGP of the Uttar Pradesh Police and the Assam Police, among other positions. Before 1996, after his retirement, he filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, requesting police reforms. In September 2006, the Supreme Court issued a historic decision ordering all states and UTs to implement police reforms by creating the Police Complaint Authority. The judgment outlined a set of actions that the governments were to do. These were designed to ensure that the police could carry out their duties without fear of political influence.
WHAT IS POLICE COMPLAINT AUTHORITY (PCA)?
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is an organization that hears complaints about police misconduct, including incorrect or sloppy investigations, neglect to file FIRs, custody abuse, and excessive force. However, its suggestions for action against negligent police officers are not obligatory on the state government. The PCAs were founded in 17 states under State Police Acts, and 10 states through executive orders. The PCAs’ brief objective is to change policing culture and make it professional. Police Complaints Authorities should be established both at the state and district levels, according to the Supreme Court decision and the Draft Model Police Bill, 2006. As per recent studies, until 2020, not a single state complied entirely with the Supreme Court’s orders. During this time, 18 states have passed or revised their police acts, although none of them perfectly matched legislative models. In the last few decades, five states have been determined to be non-compliant and have been served with contempt petitions. Larger states, like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, have been the weakest at implementing systemic reforms following the judgment. Only the states in the northeast have adopted the proposed reforms in spirit.
SELECTION PROCESS OF PCA
The Chair of State-Level Authorities is to be chosen by the state government from a list of retired high court judges submitted by the Chief Justice of the High Court, as per the Supreme Court. The state government will choose the Chair at the district level from a panel of names recommended by the Chief Justice of the High Court, or from a single High Court judge selected by the Chief Justice. The government will choose the remaining members from a panel put together by the State public service commission or Lokayukta or State Human Rights Commission.
TRAINING OF PCA
A clause on training is included in the Draft Model Police Bill, which is an important part of a legislative framework for police complaints authorities. The state-level Authority has the “duty” to make sure that all members and staff of both the state and district-level Authorities are “consistently trained” on
- Legal and technical matters regarding departmental inquiries
- Particular kinds of human rights violation
- Effective handling of victims of police abuse, according to the provision.
Only three of the 14 new state police acts, notably those of Karnataka, Meghalaya, and Tripura, have a training provider. This gap in law across the country demonstrates that policymakers and legislators do not place high importance on training for Police Complaints Authorities. In India, For now, there are no training programmed or modules being employed by any Police Complaints Authority. In practice, no training is provided upon induction and no “regular” training is provided to any members or staff of the Police Complaints Authority. PCA will attempt to resolve your issue because it is independent of the police and has the legal authority to hear your complaint. A complaint can be lodged by the victim, a friend, or a family member of the victim. Take a look at how to file a police complaint in PCA-
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED ARE
- If an injury occurred as a result of police action, including the medical report with the complaint.
- You might include a photograph of the victim’s injuries.
- If you’ve filed a complaint and received a response from the police, you may also attach a copy of the complaint.
- Evidence of a daily journal entry.
YOU CAN FILE A COMPLAINT IF
- If a person has died while being held by the police,
- If you were raped while in police custody, you should report it immediately.
- If the victim’s land or home has been seized by a police officer,
- If a police officer has committed extortion.
To safeguard the country’s democratic framework, major structural adjustments are required. While many of them are working hard to fulfill their mandates around the nation, they are encountering structural and practical issues that are preventing them from doing so. Their efficacy or success, to put it bluntly, is dependent on the government’s will. The wicked alliance of politicians, bureaucrats, cops, and criminals must be broken apart. In unusual instances involving the circumstances in a given state, small adjustments might be made.
Author’s Name: Bhavya Rani (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Hyderabad)