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Goa archdiocese flays proposed police law
Bill in its present form has several defects, says Church officialHelmeted police in Goa maintain a vigil following a communal riot (File photo)
- Bosco Dâ€™Souza Eremita, Panaji
- January 27, 2011
â€śThe provisions in the bill for police accountability appear to be a facile attempt to bow down to the dictates of the Supreme Court,â€ť said Father Maverick Fernandes, CSJP executive secretary.
The Supreme Court had in 2006 directed the federal and all state governments to implement six directives which would kick start police reforms and ensure that police accountability is enhanced.
While implementing the directives of the court, the Goa government simultaneously drafted a new police law to replace the existing 1861 Police Act.
The Goa Police Bill was introduced in the state assembly in August 2008 and the House referred it to a select committee.
â€śThe bill in its present form has several defects and undermines civil liberties, gives additional power to the police without ensuring the requisite accountability," Father Fernandes said in a statement.
The priest said that despite several requests to the select committee for peopleâ€™s participation while drafting the bill, it failed to hold public debates and consultations or invite public submissions on the matter.
Father Fernandes said that the state government implemented the courtâ€™s directives but in a â€śhighly watered down fashion.â€ť
The bill discards the directives of the Supreme Court, one of which says that the police complaints committee be chaired by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court with names proposed by the Chief Justice.
â€śIt indicates that police functioning will not improve and will continue to remain a force that imposes law instead of becoming a service that upholds the law," he added.
The priests said â€ścommunities are the beneficiaries of good policing and victims of bad policing (and hence) reiterate our demand to encourage the participation of the community in the process of enacting laws."
Police on watch after Goa church break-in
Goa police guard archbishopâ€™s house