Updated: November 24, 2015 4:20:51 am
Amid protests by the three BJP members in the 70-member House, Delhi Assembly Monday passed a bill proposing an amendment to CrPC that would widen the scope of inquiries conducted by district magistrates.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) (Delhi Amendment) Bill, 2015 envisages an amendment of section 176 (1) of the CrPC that gives a magistrate the power to inquire into “any case referred by the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi”. This would be in addition to his/her existing power to inquire various kinds of deaths under section 174 of the CrPC. Section 174 of the CrPC grants a magistrate the power to hold an inquest in cases of suicide, homicide, killed by an animal or machinery or suspicious death of a woman within seven years of marriage, among others.
Presenting the bill, Home Minister Satyendar Jain said if the Bill is passed, judicial and metropolitan magistrates would have power to investigate those cases in which government thinks a magisterial probe should be ordered.
“This government does not want to limit the scope of magisterial inquiry only to custodial death, homicide, suicide of a woman or death of a woman but to any other act which the state government thinks fit for magisterial inquiry. This government wants to widen its scope to cover any other cases of suspicious disappearances, rapes in police custody, suspicious death etc,” the government’s statement of objects and reasons read.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “There are many cases in which the government feels the need for a magisterial inquiry. A magisterial inquiry has sanctity before the court and carries some weight. This is an important amendment for governance…” The AAP government has been targeting Delhi Police over allegedly deteriorating law and order.
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, however, said the power to bring about such an amendment rested with Parliament and the Delhi Assembly should not assume the power. He said provisions of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) Act mandated that an amendment of this nature be referred to the Lt Governor before it is introduced in the Assembly.
On this opposition, Sisodia said, “For the first time I have seen an MLA who does not accept the complete powers of his House.” He added the Delhi Assembly had amended the CrPC once in 2011.
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