Mangalore: Commissioner to get magisterial powers soon


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The Hindu
Formalities and paperwork are under way for issuing a gazette notification to this effect, says Hosur

 


Police Commissioner will be empowered to extern people

Finding land for commissionerate’s HQ likely to be difficult


 MANGALORE: In a month from now, the City Police Commissioner is expected to get executive magisterial powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure (1973), the Karnataka Police Act (1963), the Indian Arms Act (1959), the Karnataka Goonda Act (1985) and the Indian Explosives Act.

City Police Commissioner Gopal B. Hosur told presspersons here on Saturday that the Government would confer the magisterial powers through a gazette notification. “The formalities and the paperwork will take about a month,” he said.

Scope

 

The magisterial powers are expected to “add teeth” to policing and will give the Police Commissioner the authority to extern, detain and arrest persons. The Commissioner will also have the power to take decisions on traffic regulation such as declaration of one-way roads. These powers are now held by the Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioners and tahsildars in the district, who are revenue officers with executive magisterial status. At present, if the police want to remand a habitual offender to judicial custody for three months under the Goonda Act, they have to present all the evidence before the executive magistrate, who takes a decision only after a detailed discussion with the investigating authorities. “By the time a decision is taken, the accused often gets wind of the proceedings and absconds,” said Mr. Hosur.

The Police Commissioner will also be able to arbitrate “proceedings to extern an accused” under Sections 55 and 56 of the Karnataka Police Act, which power is now in the hands of senior revenue officials.

Jurisdiction

 

 

Magisterial powers have traditionally been a cause for conflict between IAS and IPS officers since the powers of the IAS officer in charge of a district become diminished with the formation of a Commissionerate. Asha Nayak, advocate, said that the issues such as conflict of jurisdiction and conflict of interest were bound to arise in the new setup. Chairman of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission S.R. Nayak said that in a modern democracy, the executive, judicial and legislative functions could not be strictly separated. Each of the three wings often performed certain functions of the other two, he said.

Staff requirement

 

 

Mr. Hosur said that a proposal had been sent to the State Government recently asking for an additional 1,657 personnel for the City Police Commissionerate. It would take at least two years to have all these posts filled, he added. The 660-sq.-km area under the commissionerate had the highest crime rate compared to the rest of the district comprising 4,200 sq. km. In 2009, the area under the commissionerate witnessed 2,362 crimes compared to 1,907 in the rest of the district. The police registered 8,533 criminal cases in the commissionerate area in the last three years, whereas 5,241 cases were registered in the rest of the district during the period, he said.

He said that apart from recruiting staff, identification of land for the headquarters of the commissionerate was a huge challenge since most of the available land in the region was in private hands and exorbitantly priced. The bifurcation of the district police too was expected to be a knotty issue, he said and added that the police personnel would be given a choice between working for the district police and the commissionerate.

According to the proposal, recurring and non-recurring costs involved in the setting up of the commissionerate will be Rs. 26.6 crore at the end of 2012-13 fiscal year.

 

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