Kerala High Court: Devan Ramachandran, J., directed the State of Kerala along with the Commissioner of Police to take steps for effective implementation of victim protection schemes particularly with regard to victims of sexual harassment.
The instant writ petition was filed praying to direct the Station House Officer (SHO) and his police men not to harass the petitioner and further to direct the Commissioner of Police to give adequate police protection to the petitioner, during the pendency of the Writ Petition. The petitioner alleged that the police officials were acting in collaboration with the accused in the case of sexual attack against her; and that she had been forced to go into hiding and reside with a close relative of hers.
While dealing with a case relating to a minor rape victim; in which, there was an allegation that the accused and others were intimidating and threatening her, so as to force her not to file an appeal against them, the Bench expressed that,
“…unfortunately, allegations are far more grievous because, the petitioner, who is stated to be a rape victim, alleges that she is being harassed, not only by the accused, but by certain Police Officers.”
Noticing that there are specific guidelines, circulars and orders issued by the various Authorities competent with respect to protection of victims of sexual attacks, including rape; these are not being effectively implemented, the Bench expressed the need of giving a close look to the stipulations for protection of women, who had faced the agony of sexual harassment and attack.
“Though this Court does not know the truth of the allegations yet, they certainly are ones which will have to engage the attention of the highest Officer in charge of the Police Department in the District.”
Since the State of Kerala was on the party array, the Bench opined that the issue must be answered by them as to how the mandate of protection of sexual attack victims should be effectively implemented because the issue at hand cuts at the root of the societal response to such grievous attacks and offences.
Hence, the Bench directed the government to government to obtain specific response the competent Authorities, including the State Police Chief, particularly as to how the Victim Protection Protocols will be efficiently and imperatively implemented.
The Commissioner of Police was directed to ensure that the life of the petitioner, as also her minor child, is effectively and adequately protected, but without involving the involved police officials and by employing personnel from another Police Station under his command. The Bench added, such protection shall be offered to the petitioner discreetly, preferably by nominating women Police Officers not in uniform, who shall deal with the petitioner with the empathy that she deserves.[XXX v. State of Kerala, WP(C) NO. 22276 OF 2021, decided on 13-10-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Counsels for the Petitioner: M/S.C.Dheeraj Rajan and Anand Kalyanakrishnan
Counsels for the State of Kerala: E.C.Bineesh, Government Pleader