Ruthenium-Schiff base complex catalyzed efficient protocol has been developed for the synthesis of orthanilic acids from benzothiazoles in good to excellent yields using N-haloamines. Hexa-coordinated ruthenium complex with Schiff base and triphenylphosphine ligands has been prepared and its catalytic function was invented for the synthesis of orthanilic acids. The synthetic process utilizes our efficient method for the selective and preferential oxidation of thiazole ring of benzothiazoles using N-haloamines without effecting phenyl ring. The detailed catalytic, mechanistic and kinetic investigations have been made for the synthetic reactions. Solvent isotope studies have been made in H2O-D2O and the reactions were carried out at different temperatures. Under the identical set of conditions, the kinetics of catalyzed reactions has been compared with uncatalyzed reactions and found that the catalyzed reactions are 9-11 folds faster. The catalytic constants (KC) have been calculated for each N-haloamine at different temperatures and the values of activation parameters with respect to the catalyst have been evaluated. Spectroscopic evidence for the formation of 1:1 complex between N-haloamine and ruthenium has been obtained. The observed results have been explained by a plausible mechanism and the related rate law has been deduced. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.