Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi has issued a notification, granting the newly appointed Delhi Police Commissioner Balaji Srivastava the powers of a detaining authority to detain anyone under the National Security Act. The notification that was issued on Thursday has authorised the police chief to excercise the powers for three months — from July 19 till October 18 this year.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3) of section 3, read with clause (e) of Section 2 of the National Security Act, 1980, the Lt Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi is pleased to direct that during the period July 19, 2021 to October 18, 2021, the Delhi Police Commissioner may also exercise the powers of detaining authority under sub-section (2) of the section 3 of the aforesaid Act,” the notification read.
Senior government as well as police officials said that this notification is a routine procedure that is followed whenever a new police chief of Delhi Police is appointed. Since the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) doesn’t provide the magisterial powers (powers of a detaining authority) to the Delhi Police Commissioner under the NSA, the L-G, who is the competent authority, issues a notification to grant that powers to the police chief, officials said.
“The Delhi police sent the file and it was cleared from the home department and then the LG office in no time. It is a routine thing. This keeps getting renewed vide a notification once in every 3-6 months,” said a government official.
Explaining the procedure followed while detaining anyone under the NSA, a senior police officer said that this Act is used under the circumstances, where a person with his actions may cause a public disorder thereby posing a threat to the national security.
“Under the NSA, a person can be put under preventive arrest in jail for a maximum period of one year. There is no provision for registering a first information report (FIR) for making the preventive arrest,” the officer said.
The officer further said that when any police team plans to book anyone under the NSA, the team collects information about the person and his antecedents of the last 10 years and them put up a formal request before the police commissioner. The police chief reviews the file and after proper verification he takes the decision on whether to book the person under the NSA or not.
“Once the commissioner approves the prevention detention of the person, the matter is then sent to the review committe comprising of three High Court judges. The review committe has the powers to approve or disapprove the police chief’s preventive detention order. But that is done only when the committe is not convinced with the allegations or evidence collected against the person,” the officer added.