Odisha Police Bill contrary to NPC recommendation: Cong
Bhubaneswar: Accusing the BJD government in Odisha of trying to get a new police bill passed in the Assembly without proper public debate, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik on Monday said its provisions are contrary to the recommendation of the National Police Commission (NPC).
"The provisions of the Bill are contrary to the recommendation of the NPC and subsequent reports by expert groups...And will not be able to insulate the police from political interference," Patnaik told reporters here.
The former Odisha PCC president said the state government was trying to get the Bill "surreptitiously" passed without adequate public debate.
In its second report, NPC (1979-81) observed the police force had become an extension of the party in power and had proposed a State Security Commission to exercise superintendence over the state police, a task presently performed by the state government, Patnaik said.
The Odisha Bill has changed the composition and function of the state security commission as proposed by NPC making it lose its credibility and teeth, the former Odisha minister said, adding the commission had been made another arm of the government and a "talk shop."
As per the draft formulated by NPC, the state security commission was to consist of the minister-in-charge of police as ex-officio chairman, two MLAs as members, one from the ruling and another from the opposition party, and four independent members, including a retired High Court judge, a former civil servant, social scientists and academics of eminence, he said.
The Rebeiro Committee in 1998 had suggested inclusion of Leader of the Opposition, a sitting or retired judge to be nominated by Chief Justice of the High Court and three non-political citizens of proven merit and integrity as members, he said.
However, Odisha Police Bill, 2013 deliberately excludes Leader of the Opposition and a retired high court judge, Patnaik said, adding the members are to be selected by the government rather than by an independent selection panel as proposed by NPC, Rebeiro Committee and Sorabjee Committee.
"Not merely the composition of the state security commission has been diluted to make it indistinguishable from the government, but it also functions as conceived by NPC and subsequent committees as well as the Supreme Court has been diluted," the Congress leader said.
Stating that the commission would no longer exercise superintendence over police, Patnaik said "It is the same old wine in the same old bottle. How can a government-appointed committee be a bulwark to insulate police from political interference?"
He said the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee of the Assembly so that infirmities could be removed through scrutiny.
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