In the case of Gazala Shaikh, the police had failed to follow the procedure laid down in the police manual, which clearly states that a first information report (FIR) has to be registered at the first police station a complainant goes to. The college student was abused by a BEST bus conductor, and then made to go from a police station to another to register her complaint.
According to the procedure, any police station a victim approaches should register the complaint, irrespective of whether the crime has taken place under their jurisdiction or not. If the crime has not taken place under their jurisdiction, the police can, after taking the necessary urgent steps, file a ‘zero FIR’ and transfer the case to the police station concerned.
This, apart from reducing the trouble of an already harassed victim, also ensures the police have an edge in investigations, as they can get working on the crime soon after it has taken place.
When asked about the repeated instances of ‘tossing’ (a police terminology wherein a complainant is made to run from one police station to another), Sadanand Date, joint commissioner of police (law and order), said, “We do keep a tab on such cases and check the feedback. Whenever we come across a policeman indulging in such activity, necessary action is taken against him.”
Gazala Shaikh said, “The action being taken [against the policemen who refused to take his complaint] is right. If a complainant comes to the police station, she is already harassed and should not be made to run around.” HT had highlighted the plight of Shaikh, a second year BCom student, who was allegedly abused by the bus conductor Sandeep Satpute on December 10.