Experts stressed the need to expedite the process to relieve the charges framed against Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan. The government should also compensate them for the trauma they went through and for their illegal detention, they said.
Lawyers said the police should first file a discharge report in the case under section 169 of the Criminal Procedure Code, pertaining to the release of the accused when evidence is deficient. The report, which can be filed within a day, will immediately relieve the women of the charges, experts said.
The police can then file the summary report after seeking permission of the sub-divisional police. “If the police have the will, they will file the discharge and summary reports immediately. No time should be lost in discharging the two women,” said Majid Memon, a criminal lawyer.
“In such a simple case, the procedure of filing the discharge report and summary report can be completed in less than a week,” said lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani.
Experts said the police can file a B summary report — which implies the case is false and filed with malicious purpose — or a C summary report — meaning the case is false, but filed because of misunderstanding and without malicious intent. Lawyers said if they file a B report, they can suggest that the complainant be booked under section 211 (false charge of offence made with intent to injure) of the IPC. The police will then have to seek the magistrate’s permission to prosecute the complainant, in this case, Palghar Shiv Sena president Bhushan Sankhe.
“It is likely that police will file the C summary because otherwise they will be prosecuted for arresting the girls without verification of complaint,” said YP Singh, former IPS officer, now a lawyer.
Before accepting the closure report, the magistrate, to whom the summary report is presented, has to give a notice to complainant, who can file a private complaint in court. But the police case will stand closed if directed so by the magistrate.
“The state owes an apology to the girls and compensation for illegal detention and mental harassment. Instead of suspension, the government should draw the compensation amount from the police officers’ salaries,” said Pradip Havnur, a criminal lawyer.