Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that even if magisterial powers are given to the police, they will not be given powers to impose Kerala Anti-Social (Activities) Prevention Act (KAAPA). A decision will be taken only after evolving a consensus, he said in reply to an adjournment notice given by V.T. Balaram of the Congress in the Assembly on Tuesday against the alleged decision to give magisterial powers to the commissioners in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
The Opposition walked out over the speaker's rejection of the adjournment motion.
Mr Vijayan said that it was the former Oommen Chandy government which decided to give magisterial powers to the commissionerates in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The UDF had received the approval of the finance and law departments. The proposal was the "policy decision" of the Chandy government, said Mr Vijayan.
Similar commissionerates were already functioning in 44 cities across the country to strengthen the law and order system in urban areas.
Mr Balram said the commissionerate system would give "undue powers" to the police, resulting in the curtailing of basic human rights.
He alleged that the government was setting up the new system out of pressure from the IPS lobby overriding the objections raised by the law department.
The commissionerate with magisterial powers could be established only in cities with a population of at least 10 lakh, he said. However, the chief minister said that Kochi had a population of 18 lakh and Thiruvananthapuram 20 lakh.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Congress government had decided not to establish the commissionerate system considering the opinions of human right activists and the then Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan.
It may be recalled that Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan had given a letter to the chief minister against the move....