Child rights activists and lawyers representing children in cases of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) are "perplexed" and call the circular issued by the Mumbai police chief Sanjay Pandey, making it mandatory for permission from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) before registering an FIR in the case, "absurd."
“How can a circular override the law?” said Maharukh Adenwalla, well known advocate and a child rights campaigner. “The commissioner’s circular is contrary to the Central government’s legislation. What evidence is there to show that false complaints are filed under POCSO?”
She went on to say, “The circular does not realise how difficult it is to register an FIR in these cases where the accused is often known to the family. What message are we giving out to the society, that ‘children are lying’? Why is there a narrative that only focuses on how laws for women and children are being misused?”
"The circular is overriding the objective of the law, it is just "ridiculous".
The law has mandated the registration of an FIR when a complaint is received. So by adding the condition of getting the DCP's permission, the accused will get ample time to threaten and pressure the victim and her family. No one has thought of the trauma of a child who has shown courage by coming to the police, and now there are these layers before filing an FIR" said Priti Patkar, director of non-government organisation (NGO) Prerana that works to protect children vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation.
Farida Lambay, founder trustee at Pratham, NGO that works for underprivileged children, said she was "perplexed" on learning about the circular. "The circular is in clear violation with POCSO. I don't know the intention behind it... why the decision was suddenly taken. I am perplexed! This will create more problems for the victim and her family."
Advocate Persis Sidhva, who works with Rati Foundation that works to create spaces for children safe from sexual violence, said the circular was not in accordance with POCSO. “When the police receive information about an offence, an FIR has to be registered immediately. This circular is a great disservice and is contrary to the law. In all the time that is taken to get the permission from the DCP, the accused, who is more often than not known to the accused and the family, will threaten the child and more time will be lost. Who was consulted before taking out the circular.”