A section of lawyers practising in the Madras High Court staged a demonstration outside the court campus on Monday demanding immediate constitution of an independent State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) chaired by a retired High Court judge and not the Home Secretary.
Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) vice-president R. Sudha, advocate S. Jimraj Milton and many others participated in the demonstration. The protesters raised slogans for constituting the SPCA in conformity with the directions issued by the Supreme Court to all State governments in the famous Prakash Singh’s case in 2006.
They pointed out that the Supreme Court had ordered constitution of SPCA as well as district-level police complaints authorities in all States to inquire into complaints regarding custodial deaths, rapes, torture, extortion, harassment and so on. It was made clear that the SPCAs should be headed by retired High Court judges and the DPCAs by retired district judges.
However, in Tamil Nadu, the SPCA had been constituted under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary and it comprised the Director General of Police and Additional Director General of Police. Similarly, the DPCAs had been constituted under the chairmanship of Collectors and it also comprised the Superintendents of Police.
“Such flawed constitution amounts to letting the police officials inquire into complaints against police personnel. This could never be allowed because the people would not have faith in the system. There should always be an independent body and the chairperson of the SPCA should be selected from among a panel of retired judges recommended by the Chief Justice,” Ms. Sudha said.