CHRI seeks changes in SPCA for better efficiency

Dolphy D’Souza (centre) said the letters were written after an interaction with Justice Anand Potdar, chairperson of the SPCA, earlier this month.  

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has written to the Chief Minister’s Office and the head of the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) seeking several changes in the working of the SPCA and the Maharashta Police (Amendment and Continuation) Act.

The SPCAs were one of the seven directives for police reform laid down by the Supreme Court as part of its judgment in the 2006 case of Prakash Singh vs Union of India. In Maharashta, the SPCA, a quasi-judicial body where complaints can be made against police officers, was made operational in January 2017.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Dolphy D’Souza, project lead, CHRI said that the letters were written after an interaction with Justice Anand Potdar, chairperson of the SPCA earlier this month.

“Several organisations and individuals came together to interact with Justice Potdar on January 15. Participants took the opportunity to analyse the legal provisions governing the SPCAs and assess ground-level issues,” Mr. D’Souza said.

The CHRI’s letters draw attention to the fact that serving police officers are part of the SPCAs which will hamper the efficiency of the body, and hence recommends that they be removed.

Other recommendations include making the SPCA’s decisions binding, to provide full time investigators to the organisation and making it operational in Amravati, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Navi Mumbai. Currently, only two SPCAs in Pune and Nashik are functional, Mr. D’Souza said.

“The SPCA has been functional for two years but they are barely functioning in two divisions. There is very little public awareness about this organisation and there is a need to provide a wider scope to educate people about its existence. Budget is not an issue. There should be some seriousness in the approach,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 11:14:44 PM |

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