To plug human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, set up district-level and state-level police complaint authorities
You are already, I believe, aware of the facts of the matter, which are in public domain, about the cases regarding acts of serious misconduct by policemen/officers of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Police, such as death in police custody, grievous hurt caused by police, rape or attempt to rape, illegal detention, extortion, land/house grabbing or any serious abuse of authority.
Referring to this, the honourable Supreme Court has directed different states to establish police complaints authorities, saying:
“There shall be a Police Complaints Authority at the district level to look into complaints against police officers of and up to the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. Similarly, there should be another Police Complaints Authority at the State level to look into complaints against officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and above.
“The district level Authority may be headed by a retired District Judge while the State level Authority may be headed by a retired Judge of the High Court/ Supreme Court. The head of the State level Complaints Authority shall be chosen by the State Government out of a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice; the head of the district level Complaints Authority may also be chosen out of a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice or a Judge of the High Court nominated by him.
“These Authorities may be assisted by three to five members depending upon the volume of complaints in different States/districts, and they shall be selected by the State Government from a panel prepared by the State Human Rights Commission/Lok Ayukta/State Public Service Commission. The panel may include members from amongst retired civil servants, police officers or officers from any other department, or from the civil society.
“They would work whole time for the Authority and would have to be suitably remunerated for the services rendered by them. The Authority may also need the services of regular staff to conduct field inquiries. For this purpose, they may utilize the services of retired investigators from the CID, Intelligence, Vigilance or any other organization.
“The State level Complaints Authority would take cognizance of only allegations of serious misconduct by the police personnel, which would include incidents involving death, grievous hurt or rape in police custody. The district level Complaints Authority would, apart from above cases, may also inquire into allegations of extortion, land/house grabbing or any incident involving serious abuse of authority.
“The recommendations of the Complaints Authority, both at the district and State levels, for any action, departmental or criminal, against a delinquent police officer shall be binding on the concerned authority.”
Looking forward to a response to this letter and immediate action as requested.
*Director, for World Aid Organisation For Human Rights for J&K