PCA to have teeth as HC tells UT to amend notification

Finally, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) will no more remain a "recommending body". For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday directed the Chandigarh Administration to amend its notification whereby it had reduced the PCA to a toothless body which could only make recommendations but not issue directions.

After the amendment in the notification, any order passed by the PCA will become binding on the administration and police. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain passed the directions during the resumed hearing of a PIL filed by advocate Arvind Thakur.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment which clearly stipulates that recommendations by the said authority will be binding, the High Court questioned the counsel for the UT Administration as to how PCA had been made "toothless".

In response, senior standing counsel for the UT Administration, Sanjay Kaushal, contended that Chandigarh was the first in the region to come up with a PCA and that Punjab was yet to constitute a PCA. PCA in Haryana had been set up in contravention of rules. "If you (UT) have done something, do it completely," the bench remarked.

Asked to amend the notification, the senior standing counsel argued that it would amount to giving PCA "ex officio control" over the police force. To this, the bench observed that the administration could challenge the Supreme Court judgment but until then it would have to amend its notification to give powers to PCA.

Passing the orders, the High Court ruled that the notification passed by the administration was not in complete conformity with the Supreme Court order.

Till now, the administration had been opposing the "directions" of PCA on the grounds that the "directions" were not binding but were mere recommendations. The petitioner had moved the High Court demanding powers for the PCA which had been made a "toothless tiger".

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