Press Trust of India
Published on Tue, Jul 08, 2008 at 15:00 in Nation section
Chennai: Amid allegations that officers of all women police stations in Tamil Nadu were resorting to third-degree methods during inquiries on matrimonial disputes, Madras High Court has ordered that the local police officials should obtain permission from SP to effect arrests and set guidelines to be followed in such cases.
Justice R Regupathi, hearing a petition submitted by a person on Monday that he was violently beaten up by a woman police officer in connection with a matrimonial case, observed that "every one expected that all women police stations would be conciliation centres for re-union. But the actual experience divulged that even minor disputes due to family misunderstandings are given colour of a crime."
He said "in fact helpless women are encouraged to come forward with a case with grave allegations against the husband and his family, invariably dragging all family members to police station and subjecting them to ignominy and disgrace."
"There are some instances where arrests are strategically planned to harass the accused and his family so as to make the succumb to the horror of being imprisoned. Such arrests are in ariably plotted at the weekend particularly on Fridays so that they cannot even apply for bail for next two days," he said.
The Judge added "there were many reports of married sisters of husbands, even though they are pregnant or with baby in hands, are summoned and brought to the stations in the name for inquiry and ruthlessly harassed."
Justice Regupathi suggested that except in cases of dowry death, suicide and offences of serious nature, the station house officers of All Women Police Stations should register FIR only on approval of the Dowry Prohibition Officer (DPO) concerned.
The Judge said social workers or mediators with experience may be nominated and housed in the same premises of All Women Police Stations along with the DPOs.
Arrest in matrimonial disputes, in particular arrest of aged, infirm, sick persons and minors, shall not be made by the Station House Officers, the Judge said adding that if arrest was necessary during investigation, sanction must be obtained from the Superintendent of Police concerned by forwarding the reasons recorded in writing.
The chargesheet must be filed within a period of 30 days from the date of registration of the FIR and in case of failure, extension of time shall be sought from the jurisdiction magistrate indicating the reasons for the delay.
A different uniform other than the one for regular police force may be recommended for these police officers, the Judge added.