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Saturday, Sep 24, 2022

Cong MLAs stall Haryana move to reduce power of police complaint authority

The Haryana government had tabled The Haryana Police (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which had the provision to take away the powers of “suo motu” from the authority.

On his part, the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said: “There are limitations for everyone. If we offer unlimited powers to anyone, it would have a lot of repercussions. (PTI)

In Haryana Assembly, a few Congress MLAs Wednesday succeeded to stall a proposal of Haryana government aimed at reducing the powers of State Police Complaint Authority—which probes into allegations of serious misconduct against the police personnel.

The Haryana government had tabled The Haryana Police (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which had the provision to take away the powers of “suo motu” from the authority. After strong objections by the Congress legislators, the government agreed to accept their demand to refer the matter to the Select Committee of the House. As soon as the Bill was tabled in the Assembly, Congress MLA Varun Chaudhary took the lead to strongly object to the Bill terming it an attempt to reduce the powers of the State Police Complaint Authority. Varun Chaudhary said: “The authority can take cognizance of any matter by taking a suo motu but now that power is being taken away. Why is this being done?”

Chaudhary further said: “How many complaints are filed against the policemen? The people remain under pressure. Who will lodge a complaint against a policeman? Why is it necessary to reduce the jurisdiction of authority in a way that it won’t be able to inquire by taking a suo-moto? It’s jurisdiction should be expanded in place of reducing it.” The Congress legislator also reminded how the Authority was set up after great difficulty.

In an attempt to justify the government’s move, state home minister Anil Vij said that someone should be a complainant in the matter. Anil Vij said: “I myself refer several cases to the Authority after hearing complaints of the people.” But Varun Chaudhary insisted that even the High Court and Supreme has powers to take suo-moto. “What is the harm if the Authority has powers to take suo-moto?” said Chaudhary demanding that the Bill should be deferred for the time-being.

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On his part, the Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said: “There are limitations for everyone. If we offer unlimited powers to anyone, it would have a lot of repercussions. For example, a lot of videos are shared on social media. If anyone takes a suo moto on it and keeps it pending for a long time? The state government has formed the Authority while the judiciary is a different thing.”

The Chief Minister further said: “We are not giving any powers to the Authority in the matters of attempt to rape.
The powers are being given only in the cases of rape. Attempt to rape is such a subject…for this (crime) there is no such evidence like the rape.”

Amid objections of the Congress MLAs, Manohar Lal Khattar insisted: “We are not trying to protect anyone but unlimited powers should not be given to anyone. Even the House doesn’t have (unlimited powers). When we (legislators) pass any resolution, it goes to the Governor, it is studied there and then it is signed. If the (Governor) doesn’t sign it, then the matter goes to the President. So, the unlimited powers should not be given to the (Authority too).”

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However, Varun Chaudhary said: “The Authority has only to investigate, it does not have to pronounce punishment. It is a mere recommendatory body. Why is the body being prevented from investigation too…. Many don’t give complaints against the police. The Bill should be deferred.”

The Congress MLA said: “Let the home minister state how many cases came before the Authority and how many
investigations were done. With Congress legislators Geeta Bhukkal and Aftab Ahmed too objecting to the provisions of the Bill, Congress MLA Jagbir Malik said that they want that the Bill be referred to the House select committee.”

Dushyant Chautala–while referring to objections raised by opposition members stated that the Bill be referred to Select Committee and then it can be taken up in next session. After this, Vij proposed that the Haryana Police (Amendment) Bill, 2022 be referred to the select committee. When this entire episode took place, top leaders of the Opposition including Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Abhay Singh Chautala were not present in the House.

First published on: 11-08-2022 at 06:25:02 am
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