The winter session of the Delhi Assembly is likely to be a stormy affair, with the Cabinet deciding to approve an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The amendment to Section 176 of the CrPC seeks to give sub-divisional magistrates (SDMs) and district magistrates (DMs) quasi-judicial powers, said sources.
The move could lead to yet another confrontation between the AAP government and the Lieutenant Governor’s office, particularly as the government requires prior approval from the Lt Governor and the Centre, added the sources.
According to senior government officials, present provisions of the CrPC gives powers to SDMs and DMs such as conducting an inquiry into custodial deaths or into the death of a woman within seven years of marriage, under suspicious circumstances.
“The amendments possibly aim to give DMs and SDMs quasi-judicial powers to ensure women’s safety,” said a source.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said SDMs would be empowered to summon anybody accused of misbehaving with women on buses. The SDM would also be empowered to take action against them if found guilty.
Meanwhile, the government has also decided to propose and clear an amendment to the Right To Education Act to make the no-detention policy applicable till Class III, and not Class VIII.
The proposal will also be tabled in the coming assembly session, said sources. They added that education minister Manish Sisodia has conveyed his views on the policy to Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani.
Sisodia maintained that the existing no-detention policy makes students sloppy and decreases the pass percentage in higher classes. The decision was taken after Sisodia analysed data from government schools, said sources.
The data showed that for Class VI, pass percentage declined from 83.9 per cent in 2011-12 to 57.10 per cent in 2013-14.
In Class VIII, the pass percentage was 87 per cent in 2011-12. In 2012-13 it came down by 2 per cent, and in 2013-14 it stood at 61.69 per cent.
In a note to Irani a few months ago, Sisodia said the no-detention policy was doing more harm than good. Irani had sought the state governments’ views on the Right To Education Act and other issues.
Sisodia maintained that the idea of not detaining children, though brilliant, was not fit for the present education system, which needed a lot of reforms.
Government sources said after the Cabinet passes the proposal, it will be sent to the Centre for its approval.
“The idea is to keep checks and balances so that students take studies more seriously… The basics of students need to be strong,” said an official.