The Centre has decided to set up a Police Complaint Authority in all Union Territories, including the capital, which will look into allegations of “serious misconduct” such as deaths in police custody, grievous hurt, rape or attempts to commit rape, arrests without due process of law, extortion, and land or house grabbing.

“The government decided to set up the Authority at the Union Territory level in pursuance of the Supreme Court's judgment dated September 22, 2006 on a writ petition filed by the former Border Security Force chief, Prakash Singh,” an official spokesperson of the Union Home Ministry said in a press note.

The Authority will be mandated to look into any incident involving serious abuse of authority against police personnel. It will be authorised to either take suo motu action or on a complaint received from a victim or any person on his/her behalf — the National or the State Human Rights Commission, the police, or any other source.

The Authority shall inquire into a complaint of such arrests or detentions only if it is satisfied prima facie about its veracity.

In the cases directly inquired by the Authority, it may, upon completion of the inquiry, communicate its findings to the police officer heading the police force in the UT with a direction to register a First Information Report and/or initiate departmental action based on such findings, duly forwarding the evidence collected by it to the police.

The Authority's directions shall ordinarily be binding, unless for the reasons to be recorded in writing, if the UT administration decides to disagree with its findings.

It may submit its findings in a case within 60 days from the date of receipt of the complaint, and in the case of inability to meet the deadline, the Authority may submit a report showing reasons for the delay.

Structure

The Authorities of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep will be a single member Authority, while in the case of Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh, there will be a chairperson and two members.

In Delhi, the Authority will have a chairperson and three other members, the spokesperson said, adding that barring Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep, the chairperson and members would be appointed by the Administrator of the UT concerned.

The chairperson of the Authorities in Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Lakshadweep will be appointed by the UT Administration in consultation with the Central government. They can be removed only after giving them an opportunity to be heard and after prior approval of the Centre.

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