The Chennai Police are contemplating a ban on habitual offenders from entering the city.

Section 51 (A) of the Chennai City Police Act 1888 empowers the Commissioner of Police to sign an externment order and remove a person from the city for a period not exceeding two years. Once upheld by the State government, which is the appellate authority, the order cannot be called in question by any court, except in special cases, police sources said on Tuesday.

After shortlisting the most notorious among hundreds of habitual offenders who came under adverse notice over the years, the city police are planning to issue a show-cause notice seeking an explanation why they should not be banned from entering the city. In case there is no response or the explanation not being satisfactory, the Police Commissioner would issue the externment order.

The move comes in the backdrop of a spurt in grave offences, most of them involving habitual offenders. Investigators have also come across the role of inter-district or inter-State gangs operating in Chennai. “We have a list of about 2,100 habitual offenders or dossier criminals. Those repeatedly getting involved in major crimes will have to be kept away from the city though the criminal proceedings against them would continue as per law,” a police official said.

Explaining the provisions of the Act, a senior investigator said whenever the Police Commissioner is “satisfied that the movements or acts of any person in the city are causing or are calculated to cause alarm, danger or harm to person or property, or that there are reasonable grounds for believing that such person is engaged or is about to be engaged in the commission of any offence involving force of violence…he may by an order require such person to remove himself outside the city.”

Any person aggrieved by such an order could prefer an appeal to the State government. In case any person is found guilty of breach of any direction given under the order, he or she could get a jail term of up to two years or fine or both. If any person who is banned from entering the city fails or refuses to leave or re-enters the city, the Commissioner could order his arrest and removal from the city.

The plan to impose enternment proceedings comes days after the Chennai Police formed the ‘Organised Crime Intelligence and Operational Unit’ to tackle hardcore criminals.

Enternment orders were effectively used by the Mumbai Police to keep gangsters at bay.