Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey on Saturday held the circular that mandated permission from a Deputy Police Commissioner before registering a First Information Report (FIR) in a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) in abeyance.
Mr. Pandey told a group of child and women rights activists and lawyers who were aggrieved by the circular issued on June 9 that he has friends who have known cases where children are being misused to settle property disputes. He gave examples of how two brothers were stuck in a property disagreement and there were POCSO cases on both of them by either side.
Talking about the circular that mentioned, "cases of molestation or sexual crimes involving minors should be registered only after recommendation from an officer of the rank of assistant commissioner (ACP) and permission from a DCP," he said, the circular is sending a wrong message and that a timeline needs to be added to it.
The IPS officer said, "I am saying the nod will take about three to four hours, it can be done through a phone call or even a Whatsapp message. If it goes beyond half a day, officers will be held up."
He was attending a virtual meeting organised by Majlis, a non-governmental organisation working to protect and promote rights of women and children. Mr. Pandey went a step ahead and said, "I am ready to appoint you (activists and lawyers) as special officers who will take full responsibility in such (POCSO) cases and direct the police officers to take the complaint. I assure you that it will be binding on the police." He said let's take up the experiment in the 18 days left for his retirement.
He assured Maharashtra Child Rights Commission's chairperson Sushiben Shah, noted advocate and activist Flavia Agnes and others that a new draft will be sent to them on or before June 13.