LAHORE - The Punjab government has amended the Punjab Maintenance Public Ordinance 1960 where the powers of the defunct district magistrates (deputy commissioners) to detain any person deemed endangering public safety and maintenance of the public order have been given to the District Coordination Officers. "If a District Coordination Officer or a public servant, authorised in this behalf by the government, has reasons to believe that a person, within the territorial jurisdiction has acted, is acting or is about to act in a manner which is prejudicial to public safety or maintenance of public order, he shall immediately refer the matter to the govt", says the amended MPO. Under the head of the delegation of power to the DCOs, provincial government can order the DCO exercise power - 'to arrest and detain suspected persons' - of the government. Secondly, as per the amendment, any material published - newspapers, periodicals, leaflets or any other - which can be considered to be prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order, will be banned from entering the premises of the province, and the power to decide so has been given to the DCOs. This order will remain in force for more than two months. However, the constraint is that no order of the seizure will be passed without giving the person affected to show cause against the order. Thirdly, the Review Board, for either furthering or suspending the detention period of any person, has been reconstituted with an inclusion of two judges - sitting or retired - of the Lahore High Court, besides the chairman. Previously, a senior bureaucrat used to be its member. Importantly, if the detaining authority considers that the record submitting of the detained person is not in the public interest, he can deny so by providing a letter of the provincial Home Secretary to the Review Board. The authority making the order "shall furnish to the Board all documents relevant to the case unless a certificate signed by the Secretary to the Govt, Home Department to the effect that it is not in the public interest to furnish any documents to the Board, is produced." On the other hand, the concerned authority, that is, the DCO, can interrogate the detained person, if he feels. Earlier, this power rested with the district magistrate. However, one of the constraints is that the detaining authority will, within 15 days of the detention of the person, communicate the grounds on which the detention order has been made, and will also give the detainee an opportunity of making a representation to the government against the detention orders. However, the authority can refuse to disclose facts of the detained person if the officer considers these to be against the public interest to disclose, and the authority can decline the same to the Review Board. As far as the detention is concerned, a person can only be detained for maximally three months, but "If the detention of a person is required beyond this duration, the government shall, as early as possible but not later than two weeks before the expiry of such period, request the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court to appoint a Board to be Known as the Review Board," goes the amendments.