The Bihar police Bill
Context: The Bihar Assembly witnessed bedlam as it passed the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021 amid protests by the Opposition inside and outside the House. The government has said the Bill is aimed at boosting security, and will have limited scope as it is applicable only to certain specified areas.
Need of the Bill:
- It aims to develop the Bihar Military Police into a well-trained and fully equipped armed police force with multi-domain expertise to cater to the development needs and the larger interest of the state.
- At present, the Bihar Military Police is entrusted with the security of the Mahabodhi Temple in Gaya, the Darbhanga airport, and other industrial and commercial establishments.
- The new Bill renames the Bihar Military Police as the Bihar Special Armed Police, and gives the force more teeth, on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), so it can better secure the commercial and industrial assets of the state.
- The force will be the maintenance of public order, combating extremism, ensuring the better protection and security of specified establishments in such manner as may be notified and perform such other duties, as may be notified.
Reasons for protests:
- The Bill allows the Special Armed Police officers to carry out searches and arrests without a warrant.
- This is on par with CISF, which can arrest people, including on suspicion without any order from a magistrate and without a warrant according to The Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968.
- Section 15: A court cannot take cognisance if a special armed police officer is involved in a serious case barring some exceptions.
- The legislation has provisions to allow for search and arrest without warrant by a Special Armed Police official engaged in protection of such notified premises.
- The powers of search and arrest without warrant are already available to the district police (in their jurisdiction) in all states as per provisions of section 41, 165 etc. of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
- The Act provides that in case a Special Armed Police officer commits any offence under this Act, the court shall take cognizance of the offence only on receipt of a report and with the previous sanction of an officer authorized by the government.
- However if any State Armed Police Officer commits an offence under any other law such as IPC etc, there is no protection for him under this Act and action shall be taken against him as per law.