Tamil Nadu government failed to follow Supreme Court norms, says Ossie Fernandes, Director of Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation

Members of civil society organisations came together on Thursday to urge the State government to make amendments to the Tamil Nadu Police Reforms Ordinance 2013, to secure an efficient criminal justice system.

Human rights activists demanded a slew of reforms, such as upgradation of professional competence of police personnel, improvement of working conditions, accountability mechanism for performance and conduct and professional autonomy for police at a conference jointly organised by People’s watch, CCJAT, HRF and CHRI on Tamil Nadu police reforms.

In his address, Kamal Kumar, retired Director, National Police Academy, said the police should be conscious of accountability and never be influenced. “Absence of public pressure was a major reason for the indifference towards police reforms. The public must assert themselves and ensure that the reforms are implemented,” he said.

It may be recalled that the previous DMK government introduced a bill on police reforms in the Assembly in 2008. It was referred to a select committee but it lapsed at the end of the Assembly's tenure in 2011. Terming the current ordinance as hasty, Ossie Fernandes, Director of Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation, said the State government had failed to follow the norms laid down by the Supreme Court. He wanted the government to incorporate the Supreme Court’s suggestions while replacing the law.

Even as representatives of NGOs laid stress on autonomy for police, V.R. Lakshmi Narayanan, former DGP of Tamil Nadu said, “Autonomy is not the issue. Earlier, the police were accountable and were allowed to function as per the law, without being influenced. But today, there is interference in police functioning.”

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