The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday dismissed a writ appeal filed by two police officers, including a woman, from Tirunelveli, challenging an order passed by a single judge on December 18, 2009, to pay compensation of Rs.1 lakh to a rape victim, who was made to run from pillar to post to get her complaint registered.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and R. Subbiah, recalled that the Supreme Court had held in the Centre for Public Interest Litigation vs. Union of India (2005) case that officials were answerable both for inaction and irresponsible action.

“What ought to have been done, if not done, responsibility should be fixed on the erring officers, only then the real public purpose of an answerable administration will be satisfied,” the apex court had said.

In the present case, the father of the rape victim initially lodged a complaint on February 4, 2005, with K. Kandasamy, the then Inspector of Valliyur police station in Tirunelveli district. After two days, the complainant was asked to approach the All Woman police station (AWPS) in the locality.

A. Maria Grace, Inspector attached to the AWPS, did not register the complaint until March 17, 2005 when a criminal original petition filed by the victim before the High Court Bench, seeking a direction to register the case, came up for final hearing.

Thereafter, the victim filed a writ petition seeking compensation. A single judge allowed it with a direction to the Tirunelveli Collector to pay a compensation of Rs.1 lakh to the victim and recover the money from the salary of the two police officers. Hence the present appeal.

Rejecting the appellants' contention that the case could not be registered as the victim failed to cooperate with the police, the Division Bench said they ought not have taken a month to register the case when Section 154(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure mandates immediate registration of complaints relating to cognisable offences.

“In the instant case, the appellants have dealt with the matter very lightly,” the judges said.

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