Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Rights panel puts cops in dock over ‘harassment’ of minors

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Posted: September 4, 2013 12:43 am

In a case where four minors were allegedly harassed at the Vishnu Nagar police station,Dombivali,in July,the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) on Tuesday observed that prima facie it appeared to be a case of wrongful confinement and wrongful restraint.

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC),Thane,had written to the MSCPCR,alleging that the children were harassed by officials at the police station. “CWC has not received any communication either from the Vishnu Nagar police station or from the Thane commissioner on the issue. We had asked for an official inquiry report from the commissioner by August 20. However,we haven’t received any information till date. This is a serious matter of not just ill-treatment to children,but also of ignoring CWC letters and orders,which can be considered contempt of court,” the CWC letter read.

Vijay Uttam Doiphode from the resource cell for juvenile justice at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS),who appeared before the commission along with a few parents,said the police picked up four minors,aged between 10 and 16,and a 19-year-old on July 28 around 1.30 am,without informing their parents.

“The minors were kept in police custody for nearly three days,against the regulations of the Juvenile Justice Act. On July 29,some parents approached us for help. On July 30,the parents approached the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB),Bhiwandi,and filed a complaint regarding their children being picked up by the police without an explanation. The next day,the police produced two minors before the juvenile justice magistrate and released two others. We then took the two minors,who were released,to the CWC,Thane. They complained that they were detained without a reason and beaten up,” Doiphode said.

An officer from Vishnu Nagar police station,however,told the commission that the boys were picked up on July 30 at 2 pm and were brought to the police station at 3.15 pm. “We produced them before a juvenile justice magistrate within 24 hours on July 31. We have submitted a report to the (Thane) police commissioner,” the officer said.

The two-bench commission said the 24-hour provision was given so that a magistrate was not disturbed at night. “Why didn’t you produce the minors before the magistrate on the same day? According to you,they were brought to the police station at 3.15 pm on July 30. Then how did the parents file a complaint with the JJB at 2 pm on the same day? If the application was received by the JJB before 3.15 pm,then your story falls flat. Prima facie it appears to be a case of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement,” observed the commission.

The MSCPCR has now called for records from the JJB to ascertain facts.

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