The outrage over the arrest of two girls by Palghar police in connection with a comment made by one of the girls on a social networking site continued on Tuesday, with former bureaucrat Abha Singh filing a complaint with the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) in connection with the matter.
Singh, in the written complaint given to AL Dangat, counselor with the MSCW, has alleged that the action of the police in arresting the two girls was in contempt of Supreme Court guidelines and had been done under political pressure.
Explaining the reason behind the allegation Singh said, “ According to the Supreme Court guidelines, an arrest should be made by the police only in grave offences like murder, dacoity etc, when there is a fear that the accused may abscond or if he is a habitual offender, amongst other conditions. The two girls do not fall under any of the criterion that warrants their arrest as per the Supreme Court guidelines.”
Singh has demanded that the commission ask for the case papers from the police to find out the reason stated by the police for arresting the girls. “ In every case where an arrest is made, the police officer has to give the reason why a particular person is arrested, keeping in mind the Supreme Court guidelines. So the case papers should mention why the girls were arrested,” said the former bureaucrat.
She further demanded that the state government institute contempt of court proceedings against the guilty police and take departmental action against them.
Singh further alleged that the arbitrariness of the police action is evident by the fact that initially the police booked the girls under section 295 A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) that was changed to a non-cognizable section by Tuesday morning. “ The arrest also tampers with the right to freedom is speech that is accorded to every citizen by the Constitution (article 19),” Singh added.
In light of the above allegations, Singh demanded that the girls be awarded compensation for the ‘injury to their human rights by the cops’ as there had been ‘gross abuse of human rights of the two innocent girls of tender age.’
Singh also questioned the police action in calling the girls to the police station in night hours. She said that as per section 46(4) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) no woman can be arrested after sunset and before sunrise except in exceptional circumstances.
She also asked for the commission to conduct an independent probe in the matter, as there is a possibility of the witnesses being pressurized in the case.