Now, cops can invoke KAAPA directly

Representative image. Photo: Manorama Online.
Representative image. Photo: Manorama Online.

Thiruvananthapuram: A high-level meeting held here has decided to impose KAAPA (Kerala Anti-social Activities Prevention Act) on the basis of deposition by independent witnesses in cases registered by police suo motu.

Currently, a committee presided over by the District Collector concerned gives permission for arrests under the Act. From now on, the police can impose KAAPA on their own.

The decision was taken at a meeting presided over by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), also attended by the DGP and District Collectors.

As per KAAPA, habitual criminals can be prevented from entering their home districts for up to one year. They can be kept in custody without trial for six months. Though police sought 734 arrests under KAAPA in one year, the District Collectors had sanctioned only 245. The District Superintendents of Police (DSPs) complained to the DGP, showing their inability to arrest habitual offenders under KAAPA.

The meet was convened after the DGP submitted reports in this regard to the Home department many times. During the discussions, it was decided to allow preventive custody as per the KAAPA law in the cases taken suo motu by the police based on the statement of witnesses.

Even if the offences are of political nature, KAAPA can be invoked directly if they are serious crimes as per the IPC. However, one section points out that political opponents can be unilaterally trapped in KAAPA cases.

If the accused acts in violation of bail conditions, action can be initiated as per the KAAPA law after submitting a report to the court, seeking to cancel his/her bail. The cops need not wait for the court’s decision in taking up the measures in such cases. However, action can be considered only if the cases come under the KAAPA law. Small offences should not be treated in the same way.

If the current bail conditions are such that they prevent the accused from committing more crimes, then KAAPA provisions should not be invoked.

Since drug cases are rising, strong preventive custody measures are needed even if the seized drugs are small in quantity, the meeting suggested.

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