This article analyses the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2012 which established the State and District Police Complaints Authority (“PCA”). It notes that the PCA is incapable of curbing police misconduct. This is due to the fact that the five member PCA suffers from numerous problems including:
- That the findings of the PCA are not binding. This is in direct violation of the guidelines of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case.
- Two of the five members are police officers which calls into question the independence of the PCA.
- Only one of the five members is a woman.
Recently chief minister Siddaramaiah censured Karnataka’s top police officials for failing to act against their erring personnel. While Siddaramaiah’s persuasion may yield some results, the process to address police misconduct in Karnataka itself lies in tatters. Six years after the Supreme Court’s Prakash Singh judgment, which asked for creating independent oversight boards to curb police misconduct, the governor of Karnataka passed an ordinance in June, 2012 to comply with it, and established the State and District Police Complaints Authority (“PCA”). The ordinance was later replaced by the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2012 (“Act”). The PCA’s remained on paper from August 2012 until September 2013, when certain appointments were finally made to this body.
As per the Act, the PCA in Karnataka shall consist of five officials, namely: a retired high court judge who will be the chairperson, a retired civil servant; one member from civil society, a senior woman IPS officer, and a Additional General of Police (Grievance) as the secretary of the PCA. On September 2, 2013 the government appointed retired high court judge M P Chinnappa as the chairperson of PCA. The government also appointed retired additional chief secretary Abhay Prakash, IGP Alok Kumar and IGP Malini Krishnamurthy.
Rajgopal S. is a former research associate at the Centre for Law and Policy Research