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Centre plans law to tone up policing

Sandeep Joshi



P.Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Centre will soon come out with a comprehensive law on the Criminal Procedure Code to improve and strengthen the country's policing and legal system, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram informed the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

He was replying to the debate on the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2010.

Acknowledging that the law had become “very old,” Mr. Chidambaram said: “I agree that there should not be a piecemeal approach. I have written to the Law Minister to have a comprehensive legislation on this. The report of the Law Commission on the issue should come in a year.”

The House later passed the Bill which will make it compulsory for the police to record the reasons for making or not making an arrest for a cognisable offence that carries the maximum punishment of up to seven years. The Lok Sabha has already approved the Bill.

Before Section 41 of the Cr.PC Act was amended, the law stated that a police officer ‘may' record the reasons for arrest or non-arrest of a person. Under the amended Bill, if a person is not arrested for a non-cognizable offence, the police will have to serve him notice, asking him to join the investigation. The amendment will ensure that the person does not delay the probe by not cooperating.

Mr. Chidambaram said the Code of Criminal Procedure had already been amended but was not notified because some bar councils made a representation. “I met the representatives of bar councils and wrote to the Chairman of the Law Commission…It is not an expansion of discretion of police officials but a restriction on discretion.”

Defending the amendment, he said a person arrested could go to court and say that the reason for his arrest was absurd and get bail. If a person failed to comply with the notice (of the investigating agency) or was unwilling to identify himself and give his name and address, he would be arrested on the spot.

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