Women and children in the Act
The Manipur High Court single bench Justice MV Muralidaran directed the chief secretary and DGP Manipur to make appropriate arrangement for creation of a separate wing in the police department to deal with the cases of crime against women and children in the state.
Apropos a news report in the Imphal Free Press on December 12 entitled “Mother loses hope as justice eludes rape and murder of daughter” the Manipur High Court single bench Justice MV Muralidaran directed the chief secretary and DGP Manipur to make appropriate arrangement for creation of a separate wing in the police department to deal with the cases of crime against women and children in the state. Accordingly, the court had directed the registrar general of the court to issue a circular to all the district judges of the state to monitor and direct special court constituted under the POCSO Act to submit periodical reports at least once in a month, in respect of cases registered under POCSO Act pending in the courts. After the receipt of a periodical report from the special court (POCSO), the registrar general had directed to place before the committee to regulate and monitor the progress of the trial under the POCSO Act and further orders of the committee.
The special judge in the state-designated and functioning under the POCSO Act were directed to follow the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Alakh Alok Srivastava vs Union of India and disposal of the cases within a period of one year from the date of taking cognisance of the offence.
Following the court order, inspector general of police (Admn), Manipur on behalf of DGP, Manipur had filed a report on May 2019 stating as on date, there are 485 cases registered solely under the POCSO Act. Out of the cases, charge-sheet has been filed in 396 cases, 42 cases were returned as FR, 12 cases have been transferred and remaining 36 cases are under investigation and charge-sheet is yet to be submitted. The court stated that the court is not a mere spectator but are guardians of the public interest and the society at large to curb crime against women and children. Undisputedly, the government and police department also stand on the same footing. Therefore, to achieve the needs, it is just and necessary to create a separate wing in the police department for dealing with the cases of crime against women and children in the state, since several states in India have created wings in the police department to deal with crime against women and children, the court said.
It further directed the DGP, Manipur to submit a comprehensive report on the registration of the cases of crime against women and children along with the POCSO Act cases in the state for the period 2005-2020. The court also directed to report on the feasibility and non-feasibility of creation of a separate wing in the police department to deal with the cases in crime against women and children. The report should be submitted on February 16, 2021. What matters now is how one is going to create and situate a woman and children wing in a police station. The layout of a police station in the state and every state has been always masculine and patronising even if a women police station is opened to accommodate crimes against women and children. That concept needs to change and the solution does not lie in opening women and children wing but in converting a police station into a women and children friendly zone.