In what could spell more trouble for policemen involved in the arrests of the two Palghar girls, the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW) has written to the superintendent of police (SP), Thane (rural) asking for case papers and other relevant documents.
A letter signed by Arjun Dangat, senior counsellor at the commission, has also asked the SP for ‘a report on the action taken by your (police) department’ to be sent along with the documentation.
The letter mentions the complaint filed by former bureaucrat and lawyer Abha Singh regarding the violation of human rights and guidelines of the Supreme Court, which occurred when the two girls were arrested.
“This is crucial step as case papers come under privileged information, meaning you cannot ask for it even under the Right to Information Act. However, since the MSCW is a statutory body, the police will have to send the case papers,” said Abha Singh.
Singh added that the case papers should show the reason why the girls had been detained and arrested after sunset.
“If the reason is not satisfactory, the officers should then be given exemplary punishment, as it would amount to illegal confinement,” she added.
The former bureaucrat added that while the inspector general (IG) (Konkan range) Sukhwinder Singh, who conducted inquiry, has recommended departmental and administrative action, it will not be enough in case the papers prove that the police did not have necessary grounds needed to arrest or detain the girls.
She added, “In addition to the MSCW’s decision (which is expected next week), we might file a petition in the high court for ‘exemplary punishment’ for the policemen, if it turns out that they did not have sufficient grounds to detain the girls. Merely transferring them is not the solution, an example has to be set.”