CHENNAI: A helpline that generates automatic FIRs and a special cell headed by district SP - these are the recipes to protect inter-caste couples and prevent honour killings, which the Madras High Court recommended on Wednesday.
Exactly a month after the shocking Udumalpet murder, a single-member bench of the High Court has come out with detailed guidelines and directions for the State government on the issue that brought national shame to the state.
Citing a 2015 Punjab and Harayana High Court judgement, the court directed the State government to form special cells headed by police superintendents and with the social welfare and Adi Dravidar Welfare officers as members in each district. The order listed as many as 47 suspected honour killings in Tamil Nadu from 2010 to 2015, which were submitted in the court by the petitioner’s counsel U Nirmala Rani.
Relying on the technology to quickly protect the inter-caste couple, Justice V Ramasubramanian in the order suggested creation of helpline for each of the special cells and an automatic system which will create FIRs based on the calls made by couple in distress. The FIR will be forwarded to the local police station where the couple have moved through CCTNS, an e-portal system which inter-links all police stations in the country.
It will be the responsibility of the station house officer to protect the couple and the special cell will monitor the case. The special cell will also receive complaints of threats from inter-caste couples.
The guidelines were framed by the court on Wednesday while passing final orders on a writ petition filed by B Dilip Kumar, who hails from Dalit community, and married to Vimala Devi, a caste Hindu. Subsequent to the marriage and elopement, they were traced and Vimala Devi died under suspicious circumstances after her parents forcibly moved her to their home. He had accused the police of holding a kangaroo court and forcibly separating the couple.
On the same writ petition, the High Court on November 11, 2014 ordered a CBI probe into Vimala Devi’s death. On the court’s directions, the enquiry, conducted by the IG (south zone), found as many as 47 police personnel and officers of dereliction of duty in handling the case.
On Wednesday, the court directed the IGto forward the report to the DGP and initiate departmental action against all the 47 police personnel.
Besides, the court gave an eight-point guidelines on how to address the social evil.
“Without confining themselves merely to the grant of protection to the aggrieved couple and taking action against the members of the family and friends for chasing the couple, the special cell should take pro-active steps to provide counselling to the parents of the couple,” the order said.
The state should earmark necessary funds for eradicating the evil of honour killing and make available sufficient funds at the disposal of the special cells in each district. This fund can be utilised by the special cells for providing temporary shelters to the couples and for rehabilitating them wherever necessary.
The special cells shall have a free hand to engage the services of counsellors.
“In the event of any untoward incident, the special cell should fix responsibility upon the officers who failed in their duty to protect the couple. The failure to provide protection should be viewed as a major misconduct,” the order said.