NCHRO Kerala Chapter demands the withdrawal of proposed Police Commissionerate with Magisterial Powers.
The state government’s plan to form police commissionerates in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi cities with the powers of the executive magistrate which is now with the respective district collectors has triggered apprehensions as to whether the move may turn Kerala into a “police state” and NCHRO demanded its withdrawal.
Incidentally, police commissionerates had established in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram with those of Inspector General rank as heads. However, the order said nothing about giving the commissioners magisterial powers.
The formation of commissionerates translates into handing over magisterial powers to the city commissioners, who will be an officer of the IG level. That means the commissioners will be fully responsible for the law and order maintenance under his/her jurisdiction. Until now, the district collectors had a say in police actions like declaring prohibitory orders, giving shooting orders or passing preventive detention orders, etc.
NCHRO is also concerned over the move to expand the police’s powers beyond those explicitly established (detecting crime and maintaining law and order).
The excessive use of force by police officers, including unjustified shootings, as in the cases of Sirajunnissa, Koothuparamba police firing, Beemapalli police firing, etc. are in front of us while the administrative and criminal systems that should deter these brutalities by holding officers accountable instead virtually guarantee them impunity. A fundamental purpose of policing is the protection and vindication of the human rights of every citizen. Where powers are potentially misused or human rights are not upheld, where the government should intervene rather trying to give more powers.
NCHRO envisions and fights for a country where law enforcement treats all communities with dignity, employs restraint on police power, and uses only the degree of force necessary to maintain the fellow citizens’ safety.
NCHRO Kerala Chapter Statement can be downloaded Here:- https://www.nchro.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/NCHRO-Kerala-Chapter-demands-withdrawal-of-proposed-Police-Commissionerate-with-Magisterial-Powers.pdf.pdf