Leader of Opposition initiates discussion on law and order in Delhi Assembly

Making a strong pitch for bringing policing and land matters under the ambit of the Delhi Government, Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra on Thursday urged Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to ask for full Statehood for the Capital city.

Initiating a discussion on “law and order” in the House, Prof. Malhotra said whether policing should be handed over to the Delhi Government was to be decided by political parties in Parliament and not by the Commissioner of Delhi Police.

“This is a Constitutional matter and the Police Commissioner does not have the authority to say who should be responsible,” said Prof. Malhotra.

While calling upon the Chief Minister to seek full Statehood for Delhi so that land and policing could come under the State Government, the senior BJP leader also flagged the issues he felt were hampering the functioning of the Delhi Police. “Presently the police force is used for all sorts of purposes such as checking unauthorised constructions, licensing and installation of bore-wells,” he said, adding that this takes the focus away from maintaining law and order in the city. “The police should be relieved of such work.”

Prof. Malhotra also questioned why there were no discussions surrounding the anti-rape law in the Delhi Assembly. “There should be discussions on those matters that affect Delhi, such as police reforms.”

Responding to matters raised by the Opposition, Mukesh Sharma, Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister, demanded a complete revamp of the policing system in Delhi. “There should be a separate Police Commissioner for the New Delhi area and one for the rest of Delhi. A DGP should be appointed to head the police force in Delhi,” he said.

Mr. Sharma said the Congress while demanding more powers for Delhi had emphasised the need for control on land and specific changes in policing.

“We don’t want to have exclusive control over Delhi Police as the Capital city is housing Union Government, embassies and the offices of State governments,” he said.

The Delhi Government will continue to press the Police Commissioner to intensify his efforts for instilling a sense of security among people, particularly women, said Health Minister A.K. Walia, while speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Dr. Walia also gave out the statistics on policing in the city. He said there were 83,000 police personnel deployed in Delhi, which had 161 territorial police stations. On some of the recent initiatives to improve policing, he said: “The police have increased Control Room ‘100’ number lines from 40 to 100 whereas lines of the women helpline 1091 have been increased from 4 to 16.”

The police have also chalked out a crime prevention strategy which includes revamping beat patrolling, enhanced police presence, identification of vulnerable areas, surveillance around banks and jewellery shops and close surveillance of known criminals released from jail, he said.

“Under the new section 66A of Indian Penal Code,’’ the Minister said, “non-registration of women’s complaints has been made punishable. This might be the reason for the hike in the cases of molestation reported.”

Dr. Walia expressed hope that Delhi Police will bring improvement in the present situation which is becoming a cause of concern to the elected representatives.