Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sikkim becomes first state to enforce police act

GANGTOK: In compliance with the Supreme Court's directive to regulate the functioning of the police in the country, Sikkim has become the first state to enforce the Sikkim Police Act, 2008, with effect from September five, an official release said on Wednesday.

A fixed tenure of two years for the director general of police, superintendent of police and in-charges of police stations were main features of the Sikkim Police Act, it said.

The Police Accountability Commission was set up under the chairmanship of retired chief justice of the Sikkim High Court R K Patra.

The commission would enquire into public complaints against police officers for serious misconduct (death in custody, rape, grievous hurt and arrest without due process of law), the release said.

The complaints against policemen should be accompanied by a sworn statements by the complainants.

The commission has been empowered to perform the functions of the State Human Rights Commission listed under section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and make suitable recommendations to the government, it said.

The act also provides for setting up of a state police board under the chairmanship of the chief minister to frame policies for evaluation of performance and functional autonomy of the police forces as per the provisions of the act, the release said.

It mandates strategic police plan and annual police plan to be placed before the state legislature every year and the same to also be made readily accessible to the general public.

The Sikkim Police Act, 2008, has detailed instructions for establishment of police stations, districts, ranges, a state intelligence department; a criminal investigation department, technical support services and armed police battalions and provision for outsourcing non-core functions.

The act also specifies the role and functions of the police, its key functionaries and coordination with and by other authorities. Specific provisions have been made for beat policing, village guards and community liaison groups, it said.

To ensure continued improvement in standards of policing, the act provides for a research & development unit, a well equipped training centre and detailed procedure for promotions, transfers, welfare and grievance redressal mechanisms for police personnel.

The act also lists some general offences and penalties for ensuring order in streets and public places and procedure for regulating assemblies and processions.

The guidelines on arrest and detention and conduct by police officers has also been laid down for improving the standards of policing and ensuring continued peace and security in the State.

The Sikkim Police Act has been formulated on the basis of the model police act drafted by the union home ministry and the related documents of other states.