Monday, June 04, 2018

DCs work as dist magistrates sans govt notification: RTI

The Tribune: Chandigarh: Monday, June 04, 2018.
Deputy Commissioners (DCs) in Haryana have been exercising powers of District Magistrates (DMs) for over four decades without a notification by the government empowering them to exercise such powers.
A reply to RTI pleas by Hemant Kumar, an Ambala-based advocate, has revealed that no such notification has been issued by the government ever since the present Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, has come into force from April 1, 1974.
“You are informed that the matter regarding declaration to empower all DCs to act as DMs in their respective districts in terms of provisions of Section 20 of the Criminal Procedure Code is under consideration of the government and as and when it will be decided, the decision will be conveyed to you,” said an interim reply given by the office of Additional Chief Secretary, Administration of Justice Department, to Kumar’s RTI query.
Kumar filed an RTI plea in December last year, demanding a copy of notification issued under the CrPC for empowering DCs as DMs in their respective districts.
The department, in turn, forwarded Kumar’s plea to all DCs asking them to reply it.
When he did not get any such notification from any of the DCs, Kumar moved another application, this time quoting an SC judgment (in Ajaib Singh vs Gurbachan Singh) that said a notification under Section 20 of the CrPC was mandatory to empower DCs with magisterial powers.
In an interim reply to his second plea, the department said it was under consideration of the government. “I stumbled upon this issue while going through the gradation and distribution list of IAS officers of the Haryana cadre and the HSC officer executive branch. I noticed that while the government had issued a notification for empowering additional deputy commissioners as additional district magistrates and sub-divisional officer (civil) as sub-divisional magistrates, but no such notification had ever been issued with regards to DCs, though they acted as DMs in their respective districts,” said Hemant Kumar.