Governor signed police bill before he was warned

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 19 Juli 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In what can only be described as a cruel joke, governor K Sankaranarayanan heard out activists who urged him not to sign the Maharashtra Police (Amendment) Bill, 2014, pointing out serious shortcomings, but did not inform them that he had already given his assent six days ago.

Former Mumbai police commissioners Julio Ribeiro and Satish Sawhney were among those who tried to impress on him that the Bill was against the principles of discipline and leadership.

"The governor did not tell us (he had signed the Bill). He only said what can I do? In any case we will now approach the courts," said Ribeiro.
Sankaranarayanan had assured them he would give their concerns a serious consideration.

The Congress-NCP government, which is not known to move quickly, issued the gazette notification within 24 hours on June 25 itself.

The swiftness is in sharp contrast to the appointment of the Maharashtra State Women's Commission. The government announced the appointment of the members on December 30, 2013, at the behest of the Bombay high court. But it issued a notification only on April 11, 2014, that too after a victim of sexual harassment used the Right to Information Act, and informed the court that the appointment was invalid as the gazette notification had not been issued.

The former police commissioners, along with NGOs Police Reforms Watch and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, have opposed the law as it is in contravention to the Supreme Court directives. Ribeiro has warned that the Act in its present form will cause havoc across the state.

Police Reforms Watch has condemned the governor for giving his assent to the bill. "It is anti-people and anti-police. We shall raise our opposition to the Act by taking to the streets and make it an election issue. We shall go to the political parties and demand that they include a better law for policing in line with the Supreme Court directives in their manifesto," said Police Reforms Watch convener Dolphy D'Souza.

Maja Daruwala, director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said: "All the bad practices of interfering with the everyday functioning and management of the police have now been enacted into law. The governor was wrong not to advise caution and reconsideration. It is an extremely sorry situation for Maharashtra." Police (Amendment) Bill,Julio Ribeiro,Governor signed police bill,Maharashtra State Women's Commission

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