Judges direct DIG, Tirunelveli Range to initiate action against officer concerned
The Madras High Court Bench here has criticised police officers who register cases under irrelevant provisions of law, taking advantage of the illiteracy and innocence of complainants, and ultimately close the cases, terming them a “mistake of fact.”
A Division Bench of Justice K. Suguna and Justice R. Mala also directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, to initiate action against one such officer so that “it will serve as a lesson to all others who shall be careful in registering cases in future.”
The interim order was passed during the hearing of a habeas corpus petition filed by an aged woman, Nagammal, seeking a direction to the station house officer of the Suthamalli police station in Tirunelveli city to produce her 25-year-old daughter Thamaraiselvi and the latter’s toddler son in court.
According to the petitioner, her daughter and grandson were missing since November 26, 2010. Initially, the police registered a case on the basis of a complaint lodged by her son-in-law.
But there was no progress and the complainant too did not show much interest in pursuing the matter.
Suspecting that her son-in-law himself kept his wife and child in illegal custody, the petitioner approached the police in January this year seeking an investigation.
When her plea did not evoke a positive response, she approached the court with the present habeas corpus petition.
Finding force in her submission, the Division Bench directed the police to register a case on the basis of a complaint lodged by the petitioner too. Accordingly, another case was registered and it was informed to the court through an Additional Public Prosecutor.
However, when the judges wanted to know the legal provisions under which the case had been registered, the APP submitted that it had been booked under Section 366A (inducing a minor girl to go from one place to another with the intent of having illicit intercourse) of the Indian Penal Code.
Shocked at the police action in registering a case under Section 366 A with regard to missing of a 25-year-old woman, the judges said: “It is a classic example of cases where the official respondents are misusing their power and registering cases under irrelevant sections.
“This court is of the view that taking advantage of the innocence and illiteracy of poor complainant, the official respondents had dealt with the matter carelessly. If the petitioner had not approached this court, this fact would not have come to the notice of the court.”