Tamil Nadu’s top police have instructed police officials not to make “rushed” arrests under the POCSO Act in cases involving “love affairs and marriages”.
Sylendra Babu, Chief of Police or DGP, in a circular said investigators can order the summons of suspects for questioning in cases of “consensual relations” with minors, but arrests under POCSO are made only after permission from a Superintendent of Police (SP) officer. The case, however, will continue.
The DGP also instructs senior officers to review charge sheets in critical cases and “advise appropriately if further action should be rescinded.”
The state police took an official humanitarian approach for the first time because many youths in consensual relationships had suffered irreparable damage as a result of incarceration under the POCSO act. In some cases, pregnant women were separated from their husbands and teenage girls were sent to government homes, leaving families devastated.
NDTV is aware that the chaos started from an initiative of Asra Garg, Inspector General of Police, Southern Region.
“In the past three months, Police in South Tamil Nadu have not made any arrests in 35 of the nearly 100 POCSO cases they have investigated. The police found that arrests were unnecessary and the not arresting will not harm the interests of the case.Moreover, because the defendant cooperates in the investigation and they are purely romantically related cases, the decision not to arrest is subject to arrest. The report has been released,” Asra Garg told NDTV.
A meeting between the Juvenile Justice Committee of the High Court of Madras and the POCSO panel welcomed the results demonstrated by the legally appropriate and socially sensitive humane investigative model set up by the court. Mr. Garg applies.
“Each case is reviewed by senior officials based on ‘facts and circumstances’ to decide whether an arrest is warranted. We are using our discretion to not arrest for a period of time. in a number of cases under the law as authoritative as has been agreed by the Supreme Court in many cases number of cases”. Mr. Garg said.
Arrests are made if absolutely necessary according to the facts and circumstances, he said, adding that all developments are duly recorded in the investigative record.
Activists have welcomed the move. Vidya Reddy said: “We need to understand the difference between law and justice. There is a high acquittal rate in any case of sexual violence in India including POCSO. It has nothing to do with being acquitted. immediate detention and what happens after the court process.” Founder of TULIR – an organization that works for child survivors of sexual abuse.
Many legal experts have also said that POCSO never intended to criminalize romantic relationships between consensual young people.
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