Tamil Nadu

‘Clarify doubts on Police Commission’

The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State government to clarify the provision of law under which it constituted a Police Commission on January 19 under the chairmanship of retired High Court judge C.T. Selvam to recommend measures aimed at police reforms.

Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu told Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram that they had reserved orders on January 12 on a couple of writ petitions that challenged certain provisions of Tamil Nadu Police (Reforms) Act, 2013. The litigants, who included advocate Saravanan Dakshinamurthy and retired police officer A.G. Mourya of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), had insisted that State Level Police Complaints Authority must be headed by a retired High Court judge and not the Home Secretary, as contemplated under the 2013 Act.

Matter adjourned

However, after reserving judgment in these two cases, the judges came across news reports of the State government having constituted the police commission. Therefore, the judges listed the two cases ‘for clarification’ on Monday and wanted to know the provision of law under which the commission was constituted.

The A-G replied that the commission appeared to have been constituted on the basis of a direction issued by Justices N. Kirubakaran (since retired) and B. Pugalendhi last year. He also sought time to get further instructions on the issue from the government. Accepting his request, the judges adjourned the matter to January 31.

The two litigants before the court had pointed out that the 2013 Act specifically states that it had been enacted to carry out the directions issued by the Supreme Court on September 22, 2006, in Prakash Singh’s case related to large scale police reforms across the country. However, ironically, some crucial provisions of the Act were directly in contravention of the Supreme Court directives, they complained.

Complaints Authority

The top court insisted upon the State level Police Complaints Authority to inquire into complaints against top police officers.

Similarly, the court wanted district level police complaints authorities to be headed by retired district judges.

On the contrary, the 2013 Act provided for constituting the state level authority under the chairmanship of Home Secretary and district level authorities led by Collectors, they complained. They had urged the court to strike down the legal provisions that were in direct contravention to the Supreme Court verdict.

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Printable version | May 18, 2022 12:53:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/clarify-doubts-on-police-commission/article38321417.ece