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IAS lobby sulks over new Police Commissionerate system

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Lucknow, Jan 17, 2020-

The Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers cadre posted in Uttar Pradesh is upset with the introduction of the Police Commissionerate system in Lucknow and Noida.

The IAS officers in the state see the move as an attempt to “undermine the superiority of the cadre”.

While almost all serving officers said they disapproved of the commissionerate system but were unwilling to say anything on record, the Uttar Pradesh IAS Association has decided not to comment on the development.

“The Chief Minister has been misled into implementing the police commissioner system but this would remove all checks and balances and the police will now function in an autocratic manner. Look at what is happening in Delhi,” said a senior IAS officer in the rank of Additional Chief Secretary.

Another officer in the rank of Principal Secretary said the new system would not result in the expected change because the work culture of the police would not change.

“If anything, with multiple officers in a district, it will make them play the blame game,” he said.

Retired IAS officer Yogendra Narain said: “In the administrative system, the civilian authority is considered supreme. The common man also prefers to approach the district magistrate with his problems rather than the police officers. There is an element of fear in the uniform which creates a barrier. A balance should be maintained between the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police.”

Retired Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan echoed similar sentiments, saying “there are several occasions when protests are of civil nature and can be dealt with by the District Magistrate. Police action in such matters can complicate the situation. The state government should have clarified what was the need for implementing the Commissionerate system and where did the old system go wrong.”

Another retired IAS officer, who did not wish to be named, asked: “Till now, people used to lodge their complaints against the police with the District Magistrate, but now who will entertain complaints against the police?’

Retired IAS officer Surya Pratap Singh took to the Twitter to question the police commissioner system and wrote: “The police commissioner’s area of work has been reduced in this system because of multiple superintendents of police.”

In the Police Commissionerate system, the power dynamic tilts heavily in favour of the police.

According to a state government release, powers of an Executive Magistrate under 15 Acts now lie with the police. The biggest change this brings about is the power to invoke the Gangster Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act – for which the District Magistrate used to issue the order – and eviction proceedings and prohibitory powers under sections 107 to 116 of the Criminal Procedure Code. These deal with preemptive action against those considered likely to cause breach of peace or disseminate seditious matters, which needed action on the part of the Executive Magistrate.

The police are now also empowered, among other things, to disperse assembly by use of civil force, as well as by use of armed force, powers earlier vested in the Executive Magistrate.

On the ground, the police will have a greater say in resolving land disputes. Removal of encroachments and other land-related problems would need the presence of a magistrate to aid the police.  (Agency)

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