Kerala Police Bill: first step toward colonial police system reform

By TCN News,

Thiruvananthapuram: Taking first step towards reforming the British-era police system, the Kerala state yesterday came up with the Kerala Police Bill, 2010. After the tabling of the bill by Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan followed by a three-hour discussion, the Kerala Assembly referred it to its Select Committee, seeking a comprehensive revision of the legal provisions governing the functioning of the police force in the state. The bill will regulate the powers of the police.

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Presenting the Bill, Home Minister Balakrishnan said “the Kerala Police Act of 1960, which governed the functioning of the police force now, was substantially the same as the Indian Police Act of 1861, structured to serve the designs of the British colonial regime of pre-Independence period.”

As per the bill, the police, if thinks use of torture methods against a detainee is necessary, will have to submit an evident proof of the reasons of using the method. The bill also gives the detainee the right to know why s/he is being tortured.

The Police Bill consists of the provisions to improvise and modernise the system of Police force in the state. For revealing the crime to the victim the police can use any method like digital, electronic or even the mere movement of hands. The police do not have the right to give the photos of the punished to the media.

According to the Bill, no witness of any crime should be brought to the police Station for investigation. Rather, the police have to go to them to collect the details. If anyone of the citizen makes any loss of money for the investigation, it is the duty of the police to compensate them. The police can ask the help of the youth in the society to block any crime if needed. The police can enter into any educational Institutions for making an arrest, provided they should have the clear fact with them. While making an arrest, police should conduct a mapping of the body of the victim and the result should be signed both by the victim and the police. Not only that, the police should give a copy of this signed paper to the victim who is arrested.

The Bill envisaged formation of a State Security Commission to frame broad policy guidelines, issue directions on preventive and service oriented functions of the police and, on the whole, keep a tag on the performance of the force. The Home Minister will be the Chairman of the Commission. The other members of the Commission will include Minister for Law and Order, Opposition Leader and three non official persons nominated by the Governor. The Chief Secretary, Secretary for Domestic Affairs and D.G.P will be the Ex-officio members of the Commission. The Commission will work for three years.

The bill also cares for the welfare of the police. As a part of this, a Police Welfare Bureau will be made under the leadership of a police official who is not under the rank of D.G.P. or A.D.G.P. the Welfare Bureau will provide health facilities for the needy among the police. It also helps the family of any deceased police by giving them remuneration. Moreover, there will be facilities for taking house loan and loans for many other purposes, insurance to wounded police officers.