Vanita police station is now handling cases of harassment against women, writes

Biju Govind.

A recent decision to entrust the investigation of all cases pertaining to cruelty or harassment of women by their husbands or his relatives to the Vanita police station attached to the city police is yielding results.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the State. Victims are more comfortable talking about their problems to women police personnel. Besides, investigations into these cases goes on a fast track, said Anup Kuruvilla John, Commissioner of Police, Kozhikode city.

The decision was taken more than a month ago. Now, all cases registered under Section 498 A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the 15 police stations in the city are automatically transferred to the Vanita police station. As of now, 28 cases have been taken up, says K.V. Meenakumari, SI.

Cruelty by the husband or his relatives is defined as any wilful conduct which is of such nature that is likely to drive the woman to suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health whether mental or physical. Harassment of a woman is considered when she has been subjected to meet any unlawful demand for property or valuable security under this Section.

The punishment under Section 498 A of the IPC is imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years and also liable to fine.

Ms. Meenakumari says that dowry and harassment cases have also come up from affluent and educated families.

The job of the Vanita station is to investigate the case, arrest the culprit and submit the charge sheet before the court. All these cases have already been registered at different stations before they are transferred, she says. Crimes against women have been increasing in the city. The number of crime registered against women in 2008 was 375. The figure reported was 352 in 2007 and 342 in 2007.

Nearly 134 cases were registered under Section 498 of IPC in 2006; 141 in 2007; and 151 in 2008. Several cases go unreported. But there have also been instances of false complaints.