Distressed by the killing of young couples in the name of family honour, the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to implement measures to protect inter-caste couples.
The court’s nine directives included one on establishing a special cell in each district to receive complaints of threat from couples who marry across the caste divide. The cells, which must be set up in three months, should comprise the Superintendent of Police, the District Social Welfare Officer and the District Adi Dravidar Welfare Officer.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had passed a similar order to curb honour killings last year.
Justice V. Ramasubramanian directed the government to set apart a fund to protect those fleeing from the threat of murder. “This fund can be utilised by the special cells for providing temporary shelters to the couples and for rehabilitating them…,” he said.
The other directions include creation of a 24-hour helpline to receive and register complaints and to provide assistance/advice as well as protection to the couple.
“It shall be the duty of the Station House Officer of the police station within whose limits the couple move about to provide protection to them. In order to ensure that such protection is given, the special cell should ensure that the complaint received through helpline or otherwise is forwarded immediately to the station,” Justice Ramasubramanian said.
As all police stations are connected electronically through the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), the government should consider automatically-generated FIRs as soon as complaints are received, even if they are sent through a helpline, he said.