The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday ordered that cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, as well as under Section 376 (rape) of I.P.C. will from now on be investigated only by a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj K Tiwari further directed that the survivor in such cases shall also only be examined by a woman doctor.
“Henceforth, in the cases registered under POCSO Act as well as under Section 376 of I.P.C. or any other sexual offence relating to child/girl, the enquiry/ investigation shall be carried out by a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector and the victim shall only be examined by woman doctor, as provided under Section 27 of the POCSO Act,” it ordered.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by a woman, whose 16-year-old niece had been subjected to sexual assault. She had now alleged that the accused was threatening the girl and her family members, and was mounting pressure on them to drop the proceedings against him.
The petitioner had alleged that the Investigating Officer in the case, who is the Sub-Inspector, Kotwali Gangnahar Roorkee, District Haridwar, was also pressurising the family to withdraw the proceedings.
The Court further noted that the Investigating Officer had visited the girl’s school, revealing her identity. This, it said, amounted to “serious dereliction of duty”. It, therefore, directed disciplinary action to be taken against the officer, and disposed of the petition with following directions:
The Director-General of police to the State of Uttarakhand is directed to take the disciplinary action against the respondent No.4 (Investigating Officer) in the manner in which he conducted the investigation of FIR No.0351 of 2018 registered on 24.07.2018 under Sections 354 and 506 of I.P.C. as well as under Sections 7 & 8 of POCSO Act.
The Director General of Police is also directed to appoint a woman police officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector to undertake further enquiry and investigation in the matter, within 24 hours. The statement of the victim, if not already recorded, shall only be recorded at her house or at any convenient place, as suggested by family/guardian of the victim.
It is further directed that no child, as defined under POCSO Act, shall be called to any police station throughout the State of Uttarakhand for the purpose of recording his/her statement. The identity of the child shall not be disclosed to any person, including social media, print media, electronic media, WhatsApp, tweeter or any other mode, not even in blurred pictures.
Henceforth, in the cases registered under POCSO Act as well as under Section 376 of I.P.C. or any other sexual offence relating to child/girl, the enquiry/ investigation shall be carried out by a woman police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector and the victim shall only be examined by woman doctor, as provided under Section 27 of the POCSO Act.
The Senior Superintendent of Police, Haridwar is directed to provide necessary/sufficient protection to the life and property of the victim and her close family members forthwith.