Unnecessary and unconstitutional: LHC strikes down police’s complaints cells

Published: December 20, 2014
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"Police are empowered only to investigate complaints and register cases. They canot act as arbitrators in conflicts," Justice Ebadur Rehman Lodhi. PHOTO: LHC.GOV.PK

"Police are empowered only to investigate complaints and register cases. They canot act as arbitrators in conflicts," Justice Ebadur Rehman Lodhi. PHOTO: LHC.GOV.PK

MULTAN: 

Lahore High Court’s Multan bench ordered police on Friday to shut down its complaints cells in the province on the petition of a citizen who was harassed and implicated in a fake case after someone reported him to the police.

Justice Ebadur Rehman Lodhi observed that there was no constitutional provision allowing such cells.

He ordered that all complaint cells set up the Punjab police be closed.

He also directed the inspector general of police to investigate the Khanewal district police officer who was accused of exercising his powers illegally.

The court observed that a citizen had been implicated in a false case.

The judge said the citizen had been acquitted by a court. He said the DPO should have investigated the complaint before making arrests.

Khanewal City station house officer was ordered to pay back Rs1 million security to petitioner Nazeer Ahmed by 6 pm on Saturday (today).

Ahmed, in his petition, said he was arrested on charges of fraud.

He said police had forced him to deposit Rs1 million security. He said after he was acquitted, the SHO had not returned his money. He said he and his wife were harassed by police many times.

The Khanewal DPO and legal affairs DSP told the court that complaints from the public were received by the cells.

They said these complaints were investigated and sometimes resolved through arbitration.

The judge remarked that police had no authority to act as arbitrator.

He said police were empowered only to investigate complaints and register cases.

The DPO tendered an unconditional apology but it was not accepted.

The judge said, “This is not a case where a court order was ignored. This is a case where illegalities are being committed and citizens are being harassed without any check. It is  a highly unacceptable practice that must be stopped.”

He said complaint cells were being used to settle petty scores. The court sought the report of the inquiry against the DPO by January 14, 2015.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2014. 

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