KASARAGOD: The Kerala State Commission For Protection of Child Rights directed the state police to avoid making arrests of parents in front of their minor children. If an arrest has been to be made in a public place in the presence of the children of the accused, the police officers should ensure that their actions are not causing hardship or mental harassment to the children, the commission said in an order on Friday.
The child rights commission issued the order on a complaint filed by a non-resident Indian, who was arrested in a 10-year-old 'simple hurt' case when he was taking his five-year-old son and six-year-old nephew to a dentist.
It was a political case resulting from clashes between the CPM and IUML workers in the Adhur police station limit in 2011. All the other accused were let off by the court after the two sides struck an out-of-court compromise. The complainant (the NRI) was not even aware a case was pending against him until he was arrested from his car by the police on March 21, 2021, said P P Shyamala Devi, a member of the child rights protection commission.
"The two little children were left in the car agonising for nearly one hour and a half before their grandfather came and picked them," she said. "There was no need to arrest him in such a hurry," she said.
To be sure, the court granted him bail on the same day.
In its order, the Commission asked the state police chief to direct all the police officers to keep in mind the rights of the children while making arrests. It also directed the state police chief to initiate a departmental enquiry and take action against the then station house officer of Adhur police station and other officers involved in the arrest.
When contacted, Shyamala Devi, who is also an advocate, said the commission got another case against Kasaragod police on Thursday. "The police detained and took schoolchildren in a police jeep to the station. The Juvenile Justice Act says that children should not be taken in a police jeep. Police should be aware of the law," she said.
'Arrested because there was a drive'
Police officers in Adhur station said the man was arrested on March 21, 2021, because there was a drive against long-pending cases (LPC).
"This particular case was 10 years old. When we saw him before the police station on that day, we arrested him," said an officer. He, however, rejected the charge that the children were left in the car without attention.
The arrest was made in front of the police station and the house of the accused was just 200m from there.
"His arrest was resisted by a crowd and they saw the children in the car. His father came and took the children," said the officer.
Shyamala Devi said the commission had taken statements from the shopkeepers and people and they refuted the claim of the police.
Another officer said the accused was given an opportunity to leave the children at home but he did not agree and courted arrest. "He was laying a trap for the police and they fell for it," he said.
Soon after the incident, the police department issued a circular with directions on the steps to be taken before making arrests if children are around, the second officer said.