News day / High Court judge, Justice Peter Rajkumar, recently declared unconstitutional portions of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Selection Process) Order of 2015, which propose a new process by which the countrys top cop is to be chosen.
In the 51-page ruling, Rajkumar struck out the portion making the exercise of PSCs powers subject to or conditional upon an instruction from the Minister of National Security, before it could initiate the selection process.
I am saddened over the whole situation. I have written several times but no one takes me on because politicians seem not to like independent bodies…
This judgment of the High Court should be an indicator to the politicians to revert to the original commission and stop politicising the appointments of people to the commission and of the whole police structure, said Lalla.
He noted that the 1976 PSC constitution stressed the commission was not to serve the government of the day, but to be a fully independent body. Members were appointed by the President; while the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of Police were appointed by the President only after consultation with the Prime Minster.
In 2006, Government and Opposition abolished the old PSC, and Lalla believed that the move was precipitated by emotionalism, political idiosyncrasy rather than reason or logic. He stressed that the role of the PSC was to make appointments, promotions, transfers, and exercise disciplinary control over police officers.
However, its mandate was not to manage the police force.
In 2006, the Government and Opposition appeared not to have been satisfied with the way in which the Police Service was being managed.
They concluded that the commission was the culprit in not having managed the Police Service effectively but that was wrong because the Police Service Commission has nothing to do with the management of the Police Service, he said.
Now, he noted that members of the new PSC were appointed by the President, only after the approval of the House of Representatives, therefore the organisation was no longer independent of politicians.
The judge had pointed out that they are overstepping their boundaries.
They are making this commission more and more political. In my interpretation it is already political but they are making it more so, he said.
In a July 21 press release, the PSC announced its decision to proceed with the process for the Recruitment and Selection of the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police by way of open tender as determined and prescribed by the Commission. When asked his opinion on the decision, Lalla reminded persons of the $5 million paid to Pennsylvania State University by the PSC to search for a Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police in 2010.
The two Canadians came and after a year or two they (PSC) terminated their contract and it cost them another $2.5 million… My view about this whole thing is that we should revert to the old system. This is wasting the publics time, taxpayers money, frustrating the people, frustrating the police, and promoting a disorganised society, he said.