Madras High Court defers hearing on cases related to police reforms until elections are over


They said it would be better to hear the cases during the long hiatus between April 6, the day of polling, and May 2, the day of counting of votes.

The Madras High Court on Wednesday said it would not be appropriate to hear a batch of writ petitions filed against the constitution of State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) under the chairmanship of Home Secretary — instead of a retired judge — since the Assembly elections were round the corner.

When the batch of cases were listed before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, the judges adjourned the matter by five weeks. They said it would be better to hear the cases during the long hiatus between April 6, the day of polling, and May 2, the day of counting of votes.

Though Additional Advocate General P.H. Arvindh Pandian and senior counsel Satish Parasaran, representing Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), which had challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of Tamil Nadu Police Reforms Act of 2013, were prepared to advance arguments, the judges decided to defer the hearing.

Apart from MNM, advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam and others too had questioned the independence of the police complaints authority constituted in the State. In its affidavit, MNM had claimed that Tamil Nadu maintained an abysmal record in curbing police excesses and custodial deaths. It said 76 custodial deaths had occurred in the State in 2018.

Further, doling out other statistics, the party insisted on creating an impartial and effective SPCA which could ensure higher accountability and scrutiny on the practices employed by the police. The case was filed immediately after the custodial deaths of father-son duo P. Jayaraj and J. Benicks of Sattankulam in Thoothukudi district in June 2020.

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