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TN Police Reforms, 2013

Tamil Nadu Police (Reforms) Ordinance, 2013 Analysis and Recommendations for Amendments



This submission represents the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s (CHRI) consideration of the Tamil Nadu Police (Reforms) Ordinance and our corresponding recommendations. We have analysed the Ordinance, identified gaps and weakness, provided suggestions for amendments as well as recommended the inclusion of provisions that will better define police powers and functions, the limits of political control and oversight as well as accountability of the police.


CHRI is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organisation headquartered in New Delhi. CHRI’s areas of work are focused on the right to information, access to justice, and human rights advocacy.[1]  For over 10 years now, CHRI has been campaigning for police reform in India.  The organisation was a member on the Police Act Drafting Committee (PADC) better known as the Soli Sorabjee Committee which drafted the Draft Model Police Bill, 2006 to replace the existing Police Act of 1861. CHRI has also intervened in the proceedings leading up to the 2006 Supreme Court decision in the Prakash Singh case.[2] CHRI also made regular submissions to the Justice (retd) Thomas headed Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court to monitor state compliance with its directives. CHRI’s submissions were taken on board and widely used in the final report of the Committee which was submitted to the Court in August 2009.


Published in the state gazette on 11th September 2013, the Ordinance supposedly sets the state on the path of police reform. The Ordinance is intended to incorporate the directives of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case. The Prakash Singh judgement clearly indicated that it was the Court’s hope “that governments would rise to the occasion and enact a new Police Act wholly insulating the police from any pressure whatsoever thereby placing in position an important measure for securing the rights of the citizens under the Constitution for the Rule of Law, treating everyone equal and being partisan to none, which will also help in securing an efficient and better criminal justice delivery system.”


The Ordinance unfortunately fails to follow the schema as laid down by the Apex Court. It is discouraging to note that the safeguards of independence and accountability explicitly drawn up by the Court’s directives and reflected in the Draft Model Police Bill have been removed or ignored in the Ordinance.


The need for passing an Amendment Ordinance at this stage is somewhat mystifying. When the legislature is not in session and the governor of a state is satisfied that extraordinary, unforeseen and emergent circumstances exist wherein legislation cannot wait, he is empowered under Article 213 of the Constitution to legislate by promulgating an Ordinance. Issuance of an Ordinance without there being unusual and exceptional circumstances makes this satisfaction incomplete and improper.


The Prakash Singh judgement was delivered in September 2006. Tamil Nadu was one of the few states that objected to three of the Court’s six directives. Dismissing all objections the Court ordered immediate compliance of its orders. In 2007 the government issued four orders in relation to the selection and tenure of the DGP, the tenure of officers on operational duty, the separation of law and order from the investigation wing and the setting up of a Police Establishment Board. None of these orders complied with the Court’s scheme. In April 2010 another government order was passed establishing the State Police Board. The Board did not follow the Court’s directive in composition, mandate and function. Importantly most of these orders remained merely on paper.


In 2008, the government introduced the Tamil Nadu Police Bill in the Assembly. The Bill repealed the 1861 Police Act. In 2009, it was referred to a select committee chaired by the then Deputy CM. At its first meeting the Select Committee decided to invite the views of the public on the Bill. The Bill was put up on the internet and public views were invited. When the government changed after elections the said Bill lapsed and since then no initiatives toward reform of the police were attempted.


In the meanwhile the matter remained pending in the Supreme Court. In 2010 the Court appointed Monitoring Committee chaired by retd Justice K T Thomas presented its final report.  The report gave an abysmal picture of state’s compliance with the directives. In relation to Tamil Nadu, the Committee stated ‘Tamil Nadu has introduced a legislative Bill, purportedly in compliance of the Supreme Court’s directives, but while the Bill has yet to be passed by the Legislature, in the executive orders issued by the State Government in the interregnum, the provisions of even the proposed Bill have been diluted. Pending passage of the Bill by the Legislature, the State Government may be asked by the Supreme Court to modify such executive orders to bring the same in accordance with their own proposed Bills, without further delay.’


In March 2013 a different bench of the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of two incidents of police brutality and excess use of force in Taran Taran in Punjab and Patna in Bihar. During the course of its hearings the Court issued notices to the Government of India as well as all state governments requiring them to file affidavits on the issue of implementation of the Supreme Court directives in the Prakash Singh case. In April 2013, the reconstituted Bench took up the compliance of each directive and began issuing notices to different states. Most states had simply ignored the Court’s directives or complied in breach. The Court made it clear that there will have to be full compliance of the Supreme Court’s directions and the states will not be spared for disobedience.


The Court in its next hearing in October 2013 was expected to look at Tamil Nadu’s level of compliance with the Court’s directives. To escape the scrutiny of the Court the Ordinance has been hurriedly passed.


Looking at this trajectory of half hearted attempts at reform and dishonest intentions, it is clear that the government of Tamil Nadu in these seven years (since the Supreme Court judgement) has been in no particular hurry to introduce the much needed reform. Thus it is difficult to understand the urgency or special circumstances that prevailed which merited the passing of the same reforms ignored for seven years in the form of an Ordinance. Ordinance-making power, a rare and unique power under the Constitution of India, essentially to meet urgent situations should be used conscientiously and diligently only in emergent circumstances where there is no other legislative alternative.


Unlike the passing of a regular Bill, there is no scope for detailed discussion, public consultation, and arriving at consensus at the time of promulgation of Ordinances. Legislation when done by an elected body is open to criticism whereas promulgating an ordinance is purely an executive decision, which is not open to criticism or open discussion.


Tamil Nadu does not have a system of department related standing committees of legislature to exercise oversight of the executive. In Parliament such committees are responsible for vetting bills and important amendment bills apart from discussing the demand for grants presented in the annual budget. In the absence of such a system in the state legislature, very often, amendment bills are passed after plenary discussion of varying lengths of time. Sometimes it could even be passed without discussion by the members of the ruling alliance if the opposition stages a walkout on any controversial matter, or if it boycotts the proceedings of the House. The live risk of the Bill passing in the legislature, replacing the present Ordinance, without going through the rigour of debate and discussion is thus high.


A Bill to replace the present Ordinance is unlikely to be referred to a House committee because the Ordinance will cease to operate if not replaced by a statute within six weeks of the Legislature reconvening. Government’s priority, therefore, will remain to have a Bill passed within the stipulated time. To circumvent this risk the Bill could be referred to a Select Committee of either House of the Legislature if so demanded by the House.


If the Government is truly interested in engaging in informed discussions on the Bill, it could introduce the Bill in the Legislature and have it referred to a Select Committee for detailed deliberations. The Select Committee can then open up the Bill to the public as well as seek or invite input or recommendations. If this process cannot be completed within the six week deadline, the Ordinance may be re-promulgated. It is a valid action in law for Government to re-promulgate an Ordinance if it has not been able to get the approval of both Houses to the Bill which seeks to replace the Ordinance. The options are available. However it is up to the Government to display the sagacity necessary to make judicious use of the Ordinance-making power to ensure that a strong police law is instituted in Tamil Nadu.


A new police law to govern future policing is a significant piece of legislation. Considering the fact that the functioning of the police has a direct impact on the upholding of the law and protecting of fundamental rights and freedoms of people it is vital that such a law be passed after wide public consultation. The government needs to take time to invite wide public debate on the type of police service that people would like to see and include an open dialogue with the rank and file at all levels of the police about the type of service they want to be part of.


A Police law to govern future policing must be one that advances democratic policing principles. It must reflect the needs of a democracy and values of modern policing. It is therefore imperative that the new law fully take into account the recommendations of the Court and those of the Model Police Bill without dilution. It must be able to create an efficient responsive, and most importantly, accountable policing service and turn its back once and for all on the police being a suppressive force perceived as biased in favour of the powerful.




Chapter II: Term of Office of Director General of Police and other Police Officers


Term of Office of Director General of Police and other Police Officers [Section 3 & 4]


Chapter II of the Ordinance deals with the selection, appointment and tenure of the DGP as well as the tenure of other officers. The selection process and tenure of the DGP is in line with what the Court mandated, with one exception. One of the grounds for premature removal of the DGP included is “on other administrative grounds to be recorded in writing” (clause 3(3)(e). This is excessively broad and liable to misuse. CHRI recommends its deletion.


The Court’s directions provide for a minimum tenure of two years for officers on operational duties namely the Inspector General of Police (in charge of a Zone), the Deputy Inspector General of Police (in charge of a Range), the Superintendent of Police (in charge of a District) and the Station House Officer (in charge of a Police Station). Whilst officers in charge of police stations, police districts and commissionerates have been given two year tenure, the ranks of IGP in charge of the zone and the DIG in charge of a range have not been excluded from being granted security of tenure. CHRI recommends that all the ranks of officers on operational duties be given two-year tenure. Additionally as with the DGP, “other administrative grounds to be recorded in writing” has also been included as a ground for premature removal of the field-level officers. CHRI recommends its deletion.


Powers and Responsibilities of the Director General of Police


Going further than the Court’s scheme of putting in place a process for appointment and tenure for the Chief of Police, CHRI recommends that this section of the Ordinance defines the role of the Chief of Police in detail, as a way to lay down one aspect of the precise contours of the police-executive relationship (further details on this below). It should state clearly that the overall administration and management of the police rests with the Chief of Police. CHRI recommends the insertion of the following sub-sections:



Powers and Responsibilities of the Director General of Police


(1) The Director General of Police shall be responsible to the Minister for:

(a) carrying out the functions and duties of the police;

(b) the general conduct of the police;

(c) the effective, efficient, and economical management of the police;

(d) tendering advice to the administrator; and

(e) giving effect to any lawful directions.


(2) The Director General of Police shall act independently of the Minister regarding:

(a) the maintenance of order in relation to any individual or group of individuals;

(b) the enforcement of the law in relation to any individual or group of individuals;

(c) the investigation and prosecution of offences; and

(d) decisions about individual police officers.


Chapter III – Administration of the Police


State Security Commission – [Section 5(1)]


Chapter III of the Ordinance relates to administration of the police. In seeming compliance with the Court’s directives, the chapter mandates the establishment of a State Security Commission as well as a Police Establishment Board.  As per the Court’s directives these institutions were mandated to be created to ensure that police function at arm’s length from the political bosses and that largely service related matters are under the control of the police. However the manner in which the chapter is designed, it goes great lengths to do tremendous violence to the directives of the Court.


Sub section (1) of Section 5 of the Ordinance requires the state government to establish a State Security Commission. The sub section does not include the objective of such a Commission. The Supreme Court in its order had expressly stated that the role of the Commission is “to ensure that governments do not exercise unwarranted influence or pressure on the police”. The Ordinance falls short in this respect.


Sub section (2) lays down the composition of the Commission. The premier value of a Security Commission lies in its ability to be a bipartisan, impartial body that will look to ensuring that policing functions are performed away from the pulls and pressures of the government of the day. The Commission must be designed not only so that it is unable to be captured by any single party or by the regime of the day, but also in ways that are designed to balance powerful interests. Membership that includes varied expertise, professional skills, life experiences and citizens’ interests can enrich its functioning and assure its legitimacy and its acceptance by the force itself.


The Court required that:

  • the Commission “shall” be headed by the Chief Minister or Home Minister as the Chair; it should also have the Leader of Opposition as one of its members and have the Director General of Police of the state as the ex-officio Secretary;
  • “the other members of the Commission shall be chosen in such a manner that it is able to function independent of Government control”.


The Court identified three models – the NHRC model, the Ribeiro Committee model or the Sorabjee Committee model and states could choose any of the three models for adoption. In all the three models identified by the Court, there was representation of the Home Minister/Chief Minister/Minister in charge of police, the Leader of the Opposition, at least one member from the judiciary in addition to the members from the executive, police and between three and five independent members.


The present composition of the Commission in the Ordinance includes the Minister in charge of the portfolio of police as its Chair, the leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, the Chairpersons of the Public Service Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Women’s Commission and the Minorities Commission, the Chief Secretary and the Secretary in charge of Home.  The Director General of Police is to be the member secretary of the Commission


This composition does not resemble any of the three suggested models. The independent members are done away with altogether in the Ordinance; leaving only the highest political leadership, high ranking bureaucrats and nominees of various other bodies, along with the police chief as members. With two bureaucrats on it, the bias is tilted towards officialdom which is naturally closely associated with and bound to serve the government of the day. The inclusion of Chairs of the various state Commissions is also not advised. Firstly none of the three suggested models includes them as members. Secondly these members already have an extensive workload in their capacity as Chairs of other Commissions.  It is doubtful they will have time to spare to properly fulfil their role on the Security Commission.


Independent members provide further checks and balances against narrowly perceived policy making dominated by police-government thinking. All wisdom does not reside within these narrow precincts. Representation from within the wider public assures policy making will benefit from informed diverse professional expertise and varied perspectives. But diversity is not sufficient. To be valuable on a policy making body ‘independent’ members require a credible process of selection. The Court directive required that independent members be selected by a panel comprising the Chief Justice of the High Court as the Chair, a nominee of the Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Commission. Clearly with the present composition the Commission will be unable to serve its function and will only create another layer of bureaucracy.


We thus recommend that the composition of the Security Commission be suitably amended to meet all the requirements of the Court’s directive, adopting without dilution any one of the models as laid down by the Court.


Relationship between the Police and Political Executive


According to the Court’s directive the State Security Commission would act as a body to insulate the police from undue political interference. The Court as well as various Committees that have deliberated on police reforms has relied on providing statutory tenure coupled with the State Security Commission notion to deliver the separation of policing from politics. While welcome, we do not think that these arrangements are sufficient to ensure the kind of relationship between police and political executive. The law needs to be more precise and explicit in conditioning the roles of police and political executive. It needs to lay down with precision the powers of each, mention processes to be followed and the consequences for when they are not followed. This would lay down a schema that conditions executive powers without diminishing it but in fact making it even more potent. We would like to urge this kind of formulation to be included in any new legislation passed by the government.


Following on from the formulation regarding the police chief’s specified role, the below mentioned provision provides the practical means by which the relationship between the political executive and the police chief can be precisely specified. In this modeling the political executive retains its supremacy of supervision and control.  Rather than being ‘independent’ or ‘autonomous’ (words that do not have good connotations in a democracy when referring to a coercive force), the police have “operational responsibility”. In other words, by making roles explicit in the statute itself one can achieve the best of solutions; which are on the one hand a civilian executive that lays down policy, provides the means to operationalise the policy and is able to hold the police chief accountable for good performance; and on the other a police establishment that has clear goals and tasks before it and is left alone to deliver the protection of life, property and liberty against well known policy goals without being distracted by discretionary directions from various sources.




We recommend the insertion of the following four sub sections to Section 6 of the Ordinance:


(1) The Minister may give the Director General of Police directions on matters of government policy that relate to:

  1. i) the prevention of crime;
  2. ii) the maintenance of public safety and public order;

iii) the delivery of police service; and

  1. iv) general areas of law enforcement.


(2) No direction from the Minister to the Director General of Police may have the effect of requiring the non-enforcement of a particular area of law


(3) The Minister must not give directions to the Director General of Police in relation to the following:

  1. i) enforcement of the criminal law in particular cases and classes of cases
  2. ii) matters that relate to an individual or group of individuals

iii) decisions on individual members of the police


(4) If there is dispute between the Minister and the Director General of Police in relation to any direction under this sub section, the Minister must, as soon as practicable after the dispute arises,

  1. i) provide that direction to the Director General of Police in writing; and
  2. ii) publish a copy in the Gazette; and

iii) present a copy to the Legislature


Police Establishment Board [Section 8]


Section 8 of the Ordinance sets up a Police Establishment Board chaired by the Director General of Police and four senior officers of the rank of Additional Director General of Police. The Board is mandated to consider and recommend the transfers and postings of officers of the rank of Superintendent of Police and up to the rank of Inspector General of Police. The Director General of Police on the recommendations of the Board will send the proposal to the government for appropriate action. For officers of the rank of Inspector General of Police and above the Director General of Police, he shall send the proposals to the government for appropriate action.


Whilst the composition of the Board is in line with the Court’s directive its mandate remains weak. The Court had ordered that for the transfers and postings of officers of the rank of SP and above the Board would make appropriate recommendations to the State Government and the government is expected to give due weight to these recommendations and normally accept it. The Ordinance does not reflect this language. This could potentially result in a situation where the government can disregard completely the directions of the Board without having to give any reasons for the same.


Section 8(4) sets up a State Police Establishment Committee to consider matters relating to postings, transfers and promotions of officers of and below the rank of Additional Superintendent of Police. Section 8(5) sets up Police Establishment Committees at the zonal, range, city and district level each empowered to effect transfers of subordinate officers in accordance with guidelines issued by the government. Section 8(6) goes on to say that government will prescribe the composition, responsibilities, functions and powers of these Committees – this was nowhere suggested by the Court. This is excessive government control and must be avoided.


The idea behind setting up an Establishment Board was to give the day to day functioning of the police back into the hands of the police. In effect, the Board is intended to bring crucial service related matters largely under police control. Notably, government’s role lies in appointing and managing the senior police leadership, but service related matters of other subordinate ranks should be internal matters. This statutory demarcation is absolutely required in order to decrease corruption and undue patronage, given the prevailing illegitimate political interference in decisions regarding police appointments, transfers and promotions.


A combined reading of the entire section 8 of the Ordinance goes on to show that the political class is in no mood to loosen its grip over the police. Through the statute it is ensuring that government retains control of the transfers or postings of the even the lowest rung officer.


Chapter IV – Police Accountability


Composition of State and District-level Police Complaints Authorities [Sections10 and 14]


Section 10 of the Ordinance establishes a three member State Police Complaints Authority. The Authority is to be chaired by the Secretary in charge of the Home Department, with the Director General of Police and Additional Director General of Police as members.


Section 14 of the Ordinance establishes a district level complaints Authority comprising of the District Collector as the Chair and the district Superintendent of Police and the Additional Superintendent of Police as members.


This composition is in complete violation of the Court’s directive. The Supreme Court’s directive expressly laid down a composition, selection process and mandate for the Complaints Authorities.


In terms of Composition the Court required that:

At the state level:

  • the Chair of the Complaints Authority be a retired judge of the High Court/Supreme Court chosen by the state government out of a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice.


At the district level:

  • a retired district judge, chosen by the state government out of a panel of names proposed by the Chief Justice of the High Court or a High Court Judge, is to serve as Chair;
  • At both state and district levels, in addition to the Chair, the Authorities are to be made up of 3 to 5 members “depending upon the volume of complaints”;
  • other members be chosen by the government from a panel prepared by the State Human Rights Commission/Lok Ayukta/State Public Service Commission.


In the Court’s formulation, the composition, as well as the checks and balances in the selection process, are designed to ensure that members will be independent-minded individuals who would go about their work without fear or favour.


Tamil Nadu from the very beginning has objected to the idea of establishing Police Complaints Authorities. They have believed that the police are already subject to several layers of oversight and one more body looking into police misconduct would lower the morale of the police force. This objection is now reflected in the composition of the Authority at both the state and district levels. The bodies comprise completely of serving government and police officials. The offices of the serving government and police officials are already overloaded. How these offices will now be able to run a full blown body required to inquire into allegations against police officers is unfathomable.


Additionally and more importantly the overwhelming presence of police officers and IAS officers, that too serving, kills the spirit behind the urgent necessity of the set-up of these bodies. The presence of serving police officers, particularly, entirely defeats the idea of external oversight and independence of these bodies, whose very mandate it is to inquire into complaints against the police.


Failing to adhere to the guidance provided by the Court in terms of the composition and selection process is likely to result in the creation of bodies that are seen as weak and subservient rather than independent oversight mechanisms that are effective and able to curb policing malpractice and abuse.


Powers (or lack of) of the State and District Authorities [Sections 13 and 16]


Section 13 lays down the powers (or rather the lack thereof) of the state level Authority. Section 16 describes the powers of the district Authority. On a closer reading, it becomes clear that the only power that rests with the state and district-level Complaints Authorities upon receipt of a complaint of serious misconduct is to refer the same complaint to the Police Complaints Division for enquiry and report (see clauses 13(1) and 16(a). Both are effectively barred from conducting any inquiry. All complaints coming from the public will be referred back to the police internal inquiries unit.


Ironically, the Authorities themselves are filled with serving police officers, and even then, the Ordinance seeks to supplant the role of the Complaints Authorities to the internal police complaints division. There is nothing that resembles an empowered, independent police oversight body in the 2013 Ordinance.


The Court’s directive enabled the Authorities to conduct its own inquiries and make its own findings. The Court expected that the Chair and members work full time for the Authority, and be suitably remunerated for their services. It also allowed for the Authority to utilize the services of retired investigators from the CID, Intelligence, Vigilance or any other organization for field inquiries. Thus the Court in no way imagined the Authority to be a mere post box where complaints are deposited and then forwarded back to the police.


The Draft Model Police Bill went on to give the Authority the powers of a civil court where the Authority could summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath; ask for records, receive evidence on affidavit, requisition any public record from any court or office and issue authorities for the examination of witnesses or documents.


The nature of powers that the Ordinance vests in the Complaints Authority, coupled with the composition of the Authorities work together in creating a completely impotent and defunct mechanism of external police oversight.


Burdening and Distrusting Complainants [provisos in clauses 12 and 15]


The Ordinance contains provisions which will be very discouraging to complainants, and absolutely will prevent any public trust in the Authorities. Complaints have to be received as a “sworn affidavit duly attested by a notary public” at both state and district levels. This is an undue burden on complainants. We strongly recommend that no provision that requires complainants to make sworn statements against the police form part of any new policing law. We do not see the value of this. We point out that our study of the working of the Police Complaints Authorities[3] indicates that most Authorities do not have this requirement. Neither does the public grievance cell nor the human rights commissions across the country. We cannot see justification for treating police complaints in any different manner or creating higher gate-keeping provisions for such complaints. If anything they should be made even more simple and lean toward orality given the composition of the population and the difficulties of language.


Endless waits, sworn affidavits, distant locations to find ones way to at regular intervals during working hours, will make it impossible for ordinary folks – often unlettered, already ignorant of their rights, fearful of the police – and especially the poor and powerless, to ever approach these bodies and gain satisfaction against powerful well connected mobile suspects.  This will again be counter-productive to building trust. We believe the unequal power of the protagonists must be taken into account when such bodies are designed or they will be seen as additional obstacles to justice and breed discontent.


Secondly, complaints will only be inquired into “on prima facie satisfaction” of their veracity. Rather than treating complainants and their allegations in good faith, this initial step not only assumes some distrust in people’s allegations against police officers, but also creates unnecessary delay.


Recommendations of the Authorities [Sections 13(2) and 16(b)]


Sections 13(2) and 16(b) describe the fate of the Authority’s findings. It states that Authority shall submit its recommendations to the government for appropriate action. This is a vague and watered down interpretation of the Court’s directive. The Court was unequivocal in its directive by stating that ‘the recommendations of the Complaints Authority, both at the district and State levels, for any action, departmental or criminal, against a delinquent police officer shall be binding on the concerned authority.’


The Model Police Bill went on to provide even further clarity in this regard by saying that:


In the cases directly inquired by the State Complaints Authority, it may, upon completion of the inquiry, communicate its findings to the Director General of Police and the State Government with a direction to:-


(a) register a First Information Report; and/or

(b) initiate departmental action based on such findings, duly forwarding the evidence collected by it to the police. Such directions of the State Complaints Authority shall be binding.


The Draft Model Police Bill also empowered the Authority to order payment of monetary compensation by the government to the victims of police abuse.


Thus both the Court’s directive and Model Police Bill were strong in relation to the decisions and directions of the Authority. The binding nature of the Authority’s recommendations is what gives it “teeth”, without which its effectiveness as an accountability mechanism will be completely diluted. The sub section is thus a serious subversion of the Supreme Court’s directive and must be amended in order to ensure that the Authority is adequately empowered to fulfil its function.

The present chapter on police accountability in no way offers any scope of introducing greater accountability in the police. With the creation of complaints authorities in the manner described above the Ordinance will permanently fracture the notion of external oversight of the police.


We thus recommend that this entire chapter be deleted and when a new legislation is introduced in the state it replicates the chapter on police accountability as outlined in the Draft Model Police Act.




From the analysis above it is amply clear that this present Ordinance in no way furthers the cause of reform. It has been introduced to fulfill the state’s obligations to comply with the Apex Court’s directives, but at the same time escape further scrutiny of the Court. A visionless document with no iteration of future goals, it will be business as usual without any change in the functioning of the police or an improvement in the public’s perception of the police.


The Ordinance needs to be thoroughly overhauled into a single comprehensive new law. We thus urge that the Ordinance when it comes up for ratification be allowed to lapse. Instead a time bound exercise of a whole new law be initiated. If the government of Tamil Nadu is sincere in its commitment to reform we urge that a comprehensive new Draft law for the state based on the improved version of the Model Police Act be created and opened up for wide public debate and consultation.


The state has waited seven long years to initiate reforms. Given the huge impact that any new law on policing is going to have on the residents of the state we urge that the government take residents fully into confidence and broaden its consultative processes. In order that a comprehensive legislation adequately reflects the needs and aspirations of the people in relation to the police service they want, government needs to go beyond consulting only narrow essentially elite groups, senior bureaucrats and policemen. It needs to take time to invite wide public debate on the type of police service that people would like to see and include an open dialogue with the rank and file at all levels of the police about the type of service they want to be part of.

[1] For more information on CHRI’s activities, please visit

[2] Prakash Singh and Othrs v Union of India and Othrs  (2006) 8 SCC 1



Prepared by CHRI for the Consultation on the Directives of the Supreme Court and Essentials of a New Police Act in Tamil Nadu Organised by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Human Rights Foundation, People’s Watch and Campaign for Custodial Justice and Abolition of Torture


[3] CHRI 2009 Report – Police Complaints Authorities – Accountability in Action