The Mumbai police drew ire from the Bombay high court last week for booking a handicapped woman for allegedly subjecting her brother’s wife to cruelty. The court directed the Director General of Police to issue a circular to all police stations instructing officials to “apply their minds” before showing any person as an accused in a case.
The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai criticised the police on finding that in the case in hand the cops had roped in the husband’s sister, a 90% handicapped woman, who is physically dependent on others, as an accused and that too when there was nothing against her in the complaint.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a city resident along with three of his family members seeking that the criminal proceedings initiated against them under section 498A and others of the Indian Penal Code be quashed. The case was filed after the sister-in-law of the handicapped woman filed a police complaint alleging physical and mental cruelty meted out in the matrimonial home. “Notwithstanding the decisions of the apex court, the concerned officer of the police has shown a complete non-application of mind,” said the bench while commenting on the conduct of the police officer who registered the FIR. “The concerned officer, who has shown the fourth petitioner (the husband’s sister) as an accused, has shown complete lack of sensitivity.”
The city resident and his kin had sought the case against them be quashed with consent of the complainant as she and her husband had amicably settled their matrimonial disputes. It was during the course of the hearing that the bench noticed that though the fourth petitioner – sister of the complainant’s husband — was shown as an accused there was not one allegation against her in the complaint.
Expressing anguish over complete lack of application of mind, the bench said that perhaps, the police officer who registered the FIR did not bother to read the statement of the complainant in which there is absolutely no allegation against the husband’s sister.
The bench noted that there was absolutely no allegation against the husband’s sister in the police complaint, on the basis of which the FIR was registered. “Notwithstanding the said fact, the fourth petitioner (husband’s sister) has been specifically shown as an accused in the FIR,” said the bench.