Mumbai: Of 649 complaints against cops in a year, SPCA cracks 196
The authority has recommended the state government to take action against a sub-inspector of Kurla police station, as he has been found guilty of misusing his power
SPCA members at a meeting
After thorough investigation into a complaint filed against a sub-inspector attached to the Kurla police station, with the State Police Complaint Authority (SPCA), the officer has been found guilty of misuse of power. The authority has now recommended the state government to take appropriate action against him under the Maharashtra Police (Amendment & Continuance) Act 2014.
Established on January 2, 2017, the SPCA has received 649 complaints from all over Maharashtra till date. Speaking to mid-day, former DCP Nagesh Lohar, investigating officer attached to SPCA, said, "Of the total 649 complaints, 196 have already been disposed, 259 are still being heard and the remaining 194 are being scrutinised."
He further said, "In the Prakash Singh case, the Supreme Court had expressed the need of having police reforms and had also drafted six directives asking states and union territories to adopt them. It had mentioned that reforms needed to be introduced in the force in order to deal with cases of custodial death, custodial torture, causing grievous injury to people, extortion, sexual assault and misuse of power."
When asked the reason behind taking up the Kurla case, Lohar said that of the six regional offices, only Pune was operational at the moment and complaints against cops of all ranks were being taken up.
The SPCA, headed by Chairman Anand Potdar, a retired Bombay High Court judge, and three members — former DGP P K Jain, Umakant Mitkar from the civil society and Rajendra Singh, additional director general of police — is a quasi-judicial body with powers like that of civil courts. The orders passed by the authority are binding on the state government. However, the government can ask the body to revisit the order only once. The order passed by SPCA can be appealed only before the High Court.
Apart from the members heading SPCA, four retired police officers of the rank ACP and above are hired on a contractual basis for a period of three years. They are entitled to their last salary from which the pension amount gets deducted. According to sources in the authority, anyone from the public or even a junior cop can approach the SPCA to register complaints against police officers.
The complainant has to first write to the senior officer or in-charge of the concerned police station and incase no action is taken in the matter within a month, then he/she can write to SPCA and submit the required evidences.
Thereafter, SPCA would summon witnesses, record statements and call for documents from the police station. And finally after a thorough investigation in the matter, the authority would pass the necessary order, which is binding upon the state government and police force.
The sources further said that if anybody files a false complaint, then SPCA can direct the criminal court to take action as per the Maharashtra Police (Amendment & Continuance) Act 2014. If found guilty, then the complainant might be imprisoned for a period of over two years or fined.
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