Guwahati: The Opposition Congress and the lone Independent MLA staged a walk-out in the Assam Assembly on Monday as the government refused to forward a bill that seeks to amend parts of the Police Act to a select committee on the last day of the autumn session of the House.
The bill proposes to amend sections of the Assam Police Act, 2007, on the establishment, power and functions of the District Accountability Authority.
The Assembly later passed the Assam Police (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pijush Hazarika introduced the bill in the House on behalf of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who also holds the Home and Political departments.
Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia said that as per the amendment, a DIG-level officer will head the accountability authority which will deal with cases of misconduct’ against officers in the rank of inspector and below.
The Congress MLA said a retired judge should head the panel, asserting that it was mandated in a Supreme Court verdict in the matter earlier.
Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi also opposed this provision, alleging that it will give a free hand to the police officials to cover up lapses by their own personnel.
Opposition AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam and CPI(M) MLA Manoranjan Talukdar also supported the demand for a retired judge to head the committee.
Hazarika said the committees will be formed at the police range level and will only deal with non-grievous misconduct, while the cases of grievous misconduct like murder and rape will be forwarded to the state-level accountability authority as is being done now.
The minister also claimed that such police accountability committees in different states are headed by senior officials from the department itself.
The Congress MLAs and Gogoi continued to demand that the bill be sent to a select committee of the Assembly and the concerns raised by them be addressed.
A select committee is a panel made up of some members of the House to deal with particular areas or issues.
As the government pressed ahead with the passage of the bill, the Congress members and Gogoi staged a walk-out.
The amendment bill was passed by a majority voice vote later.
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