Chennai

Civil Rights groups draft ‘alternative police bill’

Civil rights groups gathered here on Friday to put the finishing touches to an alternative ‘Police Reform Act’ for Tamil Nadu. Members of the groups believe that the State Police Bill enacted by the government in 2008 failed to comply with the seven key directives for police reform, which emerged from the Supreme Court ruling in the Prakash Singh case of 2006.

The principal aims of the groups’ draft act are to introduce a Police Complaints Authority (CPA) to encourage greater transparency and accountability in the police force and to reduce politicians’ ability to “exercise unwarranted influence over the police.”

Critics argue that the current system of policing in the State is outdated, and that legislation has hardly developed since the initial colonial Police Act of 1861, when protecting the Indian people was hardly the lawmakers’ primary objective.

Henri Tiphagne, director of People’s Watch, and one of those involved in putting together the alternative bill, said “none of the guidelines has been followed” by the State government. He urged those in any doubt of this to observe the “total mismatch” between the directives issued by the Supreme Court and the Bill of 2008 which the State government subsequently enacted.

Mr. Tiphagne blamed opposition to an independent police force on the vested interests of political and other authority figures, who had most to gain from maintaining the status quo. As a result, he said, police officers were not “enforcing the rule of law,” but “the rule of the ruling party.”

On completion, the Alternative Police Act (2010) will be presented to the Tamil Nadu government by People’s Watch and the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 3:11:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Civil-Rights-groups-draft-lsquoalternative-police-billrsquo/article16814251.ece

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