CHENNAI: Civil rights groups on Saturday called for a complete overhaul of the Tamil Nadu Police Reforms Act (2013) to make the State’s police force more transparent and accountable.
During a consultation meeting on the drafting an alternative Tamil Nadu Police Bill here, the activists pointed out that many provisions of the Act that was passed last year by the State legislature, were in violation of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2006 judgment in the Prakash Singh case.
“None of states in the country has implemented the Supreme Court’s directions in its true spirit. A big trend in the new police Acts framed by the police is to give more powers to the police. The Tamil Nadu Police Act has incorporated the Supreme Court’s directions, but highly diluted the directives,” said Devika Prasad, senior programme officer, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
She highlighted that there was no independent member in the State security commission that was established by the Act to overlook the functioning of the police.
“Its members are chairpersons of various commissions who already have full-time jobs. So they cannot spend adequate time for this new commission, which has to function full time,” she said.
While the Tamil Nadu Police Act does have a provision for establishment for a Police Establishment Board to deal with transfers and posting of police officers, the board was only authorised to forward the proposals to the State government.
“One of the worst aspects of the Act is the police complaints board (which is to deal complaints of abuses against police officers). It makes it mandatory for people to file a written complaint attested by a notary public. It should rather be a place where public can freely represent their complaints. besides, since the board is full of senior police officers, how will the public feel free to lodge a complaint against police officer with them?” Devika Prasad said.