KERALA

Debate sought on draft police Act

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan  

Proposes addition of about 100 new sections to Act

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Police Department is initiating a public debate on the draft Kerala Police Act to finalise the legislation.

The draft has already been published on the website of the department at >http://www.keralapolice.org and the Director General of Police has invited comments and suggestions from members of the public by email.

The Home Minister has said that the legislation might be introduced in the coming session of the Assembly. However, it is likely to be referred to the Select Committee.

So, the enactment and enforcement of the new law may take about a year.

The draft proposes addition of about 100 new sections to the existing Police Act after deleting or recasting 30 sections. (The Act now has only 70 sections).

Policing

The new sections cover a wide range of issues connected to policing including powers to declare an area as disturbed besides addressing changes to the crime scene brought about by technology.

Specified areas can be declared as disturbed if beset by communal or political violence, or terrorist or anti-national activities or large-scale violence and vandalism or destruction of public property.

The police can detain suspects for up to 24 hours in such areas and place reasonable limitations on the movement of persons and vehicles.

The proposed law provides for filing of complaints by email. Complaints can be made orally or in writing or by gestures or signals or by digital or electronic means.

All persons, it says, shall answer truthfully every relevant and reasonable question put to them by a police officer in pursuance of the lawful duties, provided that no person shall thereby be compelled to incriminate himself.

The police should normally approach witnesses at their normal places of residence or work and no child, woman or senior citizen shall be summoned to the police station for questioning.

If any person is so seriously inconvenienced as to lose his wages for any day, as he had to assist the police, he may be paid from the Criminal Justice Miscellaneous Expenses Fund to be constituted under the law.

The draft proposes that the district police chief should be authorised to issue certificate of non-involvement in crimes in his jurisdiction to persons on application.

He may also conduct security audit of important places or locations were large sums of money or valuables are kept and advice persons in charge of the premises on precautionary steps.

The district magistrate or government can require persons to render essential services for maintenance of peace, prevention of danger to life and property or in the case of calamities.

Special security zones may be declared in areas with high rate of crimes or law and order problems or for protection of distinguished or protected persons.

The draft proposes that the State Public Service Commission should set up a police recruitment board to ensure continuous, efficient, impartial and speedy recruitment to the police. Police officers may be duly compensated for duty done beyond eight hours. The proposed welfare bureau will assist in health care, housing and educational needs of policemen besides taking measures to ensure their financial security.

The government will also provide insurance cover to police personnel.

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