HYDERABAD: With the legal fraternity continuing protest against National Judicial Policy Making Council's (NJPMC) decision regarding Section 22-A of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), Hyderabad Additional Inspector General (AIG) Dr Ghulam Sarwar Jamali contends that the provision was being misused.
"More than 90% of the FIRs lodged under Section 22-A on the courts' orders from 2004 to 2018 came out to be fake in a research that we [the police] conducted," the AIG, who has been recently posted as regional police chief of Hyderabad, claimed while talking to the media at Hyderabad Press Club on Thursday.
According to him, the report was submitted to the law and justice commission, Supreme Court's committee and other platforms. The police maintained that the people accused in such spurious FIRs suffer a great deal of stress and embarrassment.
Reshuffling: Four DIGs transferred and posted
On the call of Pakistan Bar Council and Sindh Bar Council the lawyers boycotted the courts on Thursday. They have been demanding from the NJPMC to withdraw its decision which they argue barred the district judiciary from ordering the police to register the FIRs.
AIG Jamali, however, clarified though the NJPMC's directives have not restricted the judiciary rather the district level police complaint cells have been made the secondary platform to lodge a complaint after the local police station. He said that a complainant is supposed to approach the local police station for registration of the FIR.
A complainant who believes that the local police is not cooperating can submit their complaint in the complaint cell which will immediately initiate an investigation to decide whether the matter justified lodging the FIR.
Shuffling around: Sindh IG orders several postings
"A complainant can still file applications before the justice of peace or the sessions judges praying the court to order registration of the FIR. However, the courts will now ask the complainants if they went to the local police station and the complaint centre before approaching the court," he elaborated.
According to Dr Jamali, Section 22-A was inserted in the CrPC in 2004 prior to which the district judges were not empowered to order the police to book an FIR. "We remember that when we were new in the police, the high courts would take up such matters and the courts would direct the police to conduct a probe before registering the FIR".
The AIG informed that the Sindh police have submitted a draft legislation to carry out radical reforms in the archaic Police Act, 1861. He said that the proposed law wanted to make the police a service oriented organisation unlike the 1861 Act under which the British occupiers used the police as a force against the local population.
According to him, the draft contains the features of the Police Order 2002, which was promulgated by former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, but it is an improvement of the previous reforms. "The 2002 order wasn't made by Musharraf but a team of senior police officers and the federal secretaries who studied the reports of several commissions formed earlier to recommend the reforms".
Dr Jamali also apprised that Sindh police has submitted a summary to Sindh government to bring the salaries and pensions of the policemen at par with their counterparts in Punjab. He expressed hope that like the doctors in Sindh, the policemen will also soon begin receiving salaries which are equal to Punjab police.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2019.