Sub clauses two and three of clause 23 of the criminal procedure code of 1979 clearly spell out how police should act in such instances, in order to make arrests by using minimum force.
Mahanamahewa is making comments to BBC Sandeshaya over reports that the two Jaffna University students had been shot at as they had disregarded an order to stop.
If someone drives on disregarding an order to stop, that is a violation under the motor traffic act, and not a criminal offence.
Police should pursuit such offenders and arrest them by using minimum force, he noted.
If shots have to be fired in self-defence, police could do so, but without causing a death, said the former commissioner of the Human Rights Commission.
Pointing out that such incidents were not confined to the north, he said the Police Commission should actively intervene to prevent such incidents.
Sampanthan is shocked
Also making comments, opposition leader R. Sampanthan said he was shocked by the police shooting.
The proper course of the law should take place against the guilty policemen, he said.
Sampanthan said he had been with president Maithripala Sirisena at a function in Trincomalee, when they got to know about the incident.
The president has ordered a special investigation into the incident, he said.