CWC’s battle with police for custody of minors - Hindustan Times
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CWC’s battle with police for custody of minors

Nov 06, 2022 05:26 PM IST

In many cases where minors are victims, the police are not taking permission from CWC while taking them for investigation and other purposes

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is currently at loggerheads with the police department over jurisdiction, officials said.

According to the law, in Pocso cases, the minor should be immediately (within 24 hours) produced in front of CWC and the latter will provide shelter to minor and only then the police can conduct investigation. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
According to the law, in Pocso cases, the minor should be immediately (within 24 hours) produced in front of CWC and the latter will provide shelter to minor and only then the police can conduct investigation. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

In many cases where minors are victims, the police are not taking permission from CWC while taking them for investigation and other purposes.

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Rani Khedikar, president, CWC Pune, on Saturday alleged: “In each and every case where minor is the victim, the police have to inform CWC and take our help during investigation. We have observed that in many cases police are bypassing us and taking illegal custody of minors. This is against the rule.”

CWC is formed under The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

According to Khedikar, CWC is formulated by the Governor for the protection of child rights and has judicial powers. She questioned the police’s authority to overlook CWC in these cases.

“Police cannot say that they do not know about the procedure because we are taking session every six months. The senior officials should take initiative in this regard,” said Khedikar

In a recent missing complaint of a 16-year-old girl filed at Warje-Malewadi police station on October 8, the police did not informed CWC Pune. The girl was found in Beed district of Marathawada region. When a team of Warje-Malwadi police along with the girl’s parents went to take custody of the minor, the Beed police asked them to get handover certificate from Beed CWC.

Beed CWC found that the girl had run away from home because of her parents’ bad behaviour. Hence, Beed CWC denied custody to parents. Beed CWC alleged that sub-inspector Janardhan Holkar from Warje-Malwadi police station tried to use power to get the girl’s custody. Later, Beed CWC gave the letter to produce the minor before its Pune counterpart. However, the Warje-Malwadi police bypassed the Beed CWC order and kept the girl in their illegal custody for next two days.

Ashok Tangade, president, Beed CWC, said on Saturday, “Bypassing our order, API Holkar illegally kept the minor in his custody. Girl was unsafe with parents, hence she ran away. So, I had asked them to produce the girl before CWC Pune so that they will provide her shelter and police can conduct investigation, but the Pune police bypassed our order.”

“If anything happened to the minor during police custody, who will be held responsible? Minor should be kept at shelter provided by respective CWC till police investigation is over. Even police cannot hand over these victims to parents without our certificate,” Tangade said.

Holkar said, “As it was night when we found the minor, we produced her before CWC Pune at 9am the next day. I have not done anything wrong and carried out her medical test as per certificate issued by CWC Pune.”

Tangade, however, said that Holkar brought the girl before CWC two days later.

Pournima Gaikwad, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), said that she will comment on it after examining the case. On behalf of DCP, Dagadu Hake, senior inspector, Warje-Malwadi police station, said on Saturday, “Our staff did not know the procedure and directly demanded custody of the minor girl from Beed police. Later, they obtaining the certificate and carried out medical procedure.”

The issue came to light when the team from the government medical hospital denied to conduct medical test of the girl without certificate from CWC Pune. Then only the Warje-Malwadi police produced the girl before CWC Pune.

In another such incident, in the first week of October, a minor girl from Patoda in Beed district gave birth to a baby in a Pune-based hospital. The doctor filed a medico-legal case (MLC) at police station. Later, the Pune police informed its Patoda counterpart for further action. Without informing CWC Pune, Patoda police sought custody of the minor. However, the doctor demanded CWC certificate and the case of police overlooking CWC directive was exposed.

A police case was registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act on October 14, but the police produced the minor girl before CWC on November 4. According to the law, in Pocso cases, the minor should be immediately (within 24 hours) produced in front of CWC and the latter will provide shelter to minor and only then the police can conduct investigation.

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