KOCHI: "Khaki always goes in favour of khaki," observed the Kerala High Court on Monday after examining the report filed by the state police chief in response to a petition seeking stringent action against a woman police officer, who had allegedly mortified an 8-year-old child and her father in public accusing them of stealing her mobile phone in Attingal. The court also requested the psychologist who treated the child to be present before the court online on December 15.
The state police chief said in his report that no case under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act) or any other criminal provision was made out against the officer in question regarding her behaviour.
Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that the report filed by the state police chief about the incident was trying to create an obfuscatory curtain and that it was really unfortunate. "Many of the references in the report are extremely generalised," said the court.
Referring to the incident that occurred on August 27, the state police chief stated that no criminal action is required against the police officer with specific reference to section 75 of the JJ Act. Then a question will arise whether any other provisions of law including under the IPC would be applicable. However, the report is silent about this. The state police chief then says that the officer has been transferred to Kollam and asked to serve in a non-uniformed post. However, the report does not say that this was done by way of punishment or as to what provision of the law was followed for doing this except saying that she was also asked to attend behavioural training.
The court asked the government what it proposes to do to assuage the feelings of the minor girl and restore her trust and belief in humanity and in the police force. She is a very young girl with an impressionable mind and the scars at this age will be carried out by her throughout her life. The court asked the government to file a counter-affidavit detailing all those aspects. "If it was your daughter would you do this? That is what I am asking the government. The government has to treat the child as its daughter and take care of her. No doubt the officer acted in a manner wholly unbecoming of an officer and a human being. However, the state has to answer what it proposes to do to protect the child," the judge said.
Cop tendered apology
Rajitha, the police officer against whom allegations were made, on Monday filed an affidavit wherein she has 'profoundly and profusely' tendered her apology to the child and her family as well as the court for her actions. She said she is coming from a rather disadvantaged section and is the mother of three minor children. She said that her husband lost his job in a country outside India and is unable to return and she is also taking care of her aged mother.
The counsel said that his client is now a changed person who would not even dream of doing anything as has been alleged against her now. And that she wholeheartedly and deeply apologised to the minor girl and her family. The apology offered by the police officer is certainly welcomed but it is for the child and his father now to decide whether it would be sufficient, said the court. It asked the counsel for the girl and her family whether they were willing to forgive the woman.
The court told the state police chief, "You have to ensure that every officer acts with empathy towards citizens. It was not when an incident is brought to light that action should be taken, but every police officer should be sensitised particularly in their dealings with women and children. This is the least that the SPC could have done."
The court also said that it wants to speak to the doctor who had carried out the psychiatric evaluation of the child and asked the state to make arrangements for the online presence of the medical professional on December 15, the next hearing date.