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Sexual offence cases related to child/girl to be investigated by woman police officer: Uttarakhand HC  

The directions were given by division bench of acting chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari while responding to a criminal petition . The order was issued on Wednesday

india Updated: Aug 30, 2018 20:07 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Nainital
Uttarakhand HC,Sexual offence cases,POCSO
(FILES) This file photo taken on February 21, 2017 shows an Indian social activist holding placards during a protest against a rape at Hauz Khas village in New Delhi. (AFP)

The Uttarakhand high court has ordered that from now on in the state, investigation in cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) as well as under Section 376 of IPC (rape) or any other sexual offence relating to child/girl will be carried out by a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector and the victim shall only be examined by woman doctor, as provided under Section 27 of the POCSO Act.

Taking serious note of a police officer visiting the school of an alleged sexual assault victim in Haridwar district and thus not protecting the identity of the child from public gaze, the court has directed Director General of police (DGP) to take disciplinary action against the investigating officer in the case.

The directions were given by division bench of acting chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari while responding to a criminal petition . The order was issued on Wednesday.

Petitioner’s 16-year-old nephew is a victim of alleged sexual assault from Haridwar district. The case was registered against the accused under POCSO Act and IPC. The FIR in the case was lodged on July 24, 2018 under Sections 354 and 506 of IPC and Sections 7 and 8 of the POCSO Act.

HC also directed the DGP to appoint a woman police officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector, to undertake further inquiry and investigation in the matter within 24 hours.

“The statement of the victim, if not already recorded, shall only be recorded at her house or at any convenient place as suggested by family/guardian of the victim,” the HC order said.

The court also ruled that no child, as defined under POCSO Act, shall be called to any police station in Uttarakhand for the purpose of recording his/her statement.

After the accused approached HC, he was granted interim relief. “Immediately after, he started threatening the victim and her family. The pressure was mounted on the family to drop the proceedings against him,” said HC order.

HC said the petitioner had alleged that the investigating officer in the case, who is posted as the sub-inspector in Roorkee, was mounting the pressure on the victim’s family to withdraw the criminal proceedings against the accused. HC said following this, the petitioner was constrained to make a representation before senior superintendent of police, Haridwar on August 20, 2018 seeking protection for her life and liberty.

Court directed SSP Haridwar to provide necessary protection to the life and property of the victim and her close family members. The court also said that it was incumbent upon the SSP Haridwar to appoint a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector to investigate such a heinous crime.

Ajay Veer Pundir, counsel for the petitioner, apprised the court that the investigating officer had visited the school of the victim. “This act of the investigating officer must have caused tremendous agony and pain to the victim in presence of her schoolmates. It is the mandate of Section 24 of POCSO Act that the police officer shall ensure the identity of the child is protected from public media. Since in the present case, the investigating officer has visited the school, the identity of the child was not protected. It is a serious dereliction of duty by the investigating officer”, the HC order said.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 20:07 IST