Shyam Kohli (name changed), a 43-year-old fisherman at Cuff Parade, would leave home at 4 am and return at 4 pm. Four months ago, his wife filed an application with the special cell for women at Crawford Market, asking the police to counsel Shyam so that he had more regular working hours.
Twenty-five-year-old Seema Gupta, a native of Haryana who married Nitesh (names changed) from Kandivli, was not allowed to watch television as her husband was afraid that the saas-bahu serials would influence his short-tempered wife.
These are just two of the 100 cases that the special women’s cell initiated by Mumbai police receives in a month. The cell — with branches at Santacruz, Crawford Market and Chembur — deals with minor domestic disputes and counsels over 15 families daily, said Police Sub-Inspector Seema Parihar.
Each of the six officers in the cell handles over five cases every day. The cell aims to counsel families so that minor disputes do not end up as police cases. Among the applications, family disputes within five years of marriage are the most common.
“In such cases, it is essential for us to help the victim. We call the applicant and her family and hear them out. Often, more than five sittings are essential to resolve such cases and we have to be in constant touch with the victim,” said Parihar. Cases that cannot be resolved are referred to the respective police stations or courts.
“We are short-staffed and have many pending cases but we try to resolve as many as possible,” said Parihar.
Sharad Bhoumik, a sociologist at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said: “The number of applications indicates that present-day women stand up for their rights. It is definitely a positive sign for society.”