The Kerala High Court on Wednesday took note of a news report about a couple, originally from Delhi, allegedly harassed by police officials with demands of large sums of money to release their daughters who had run away and were later traced to Delhi and brought back.
Justice Devan Ramachandran directed the Commissioner of Police, Kochi to file a detailed report so as to ascertain all sides of the matter. Considering the grievous nature of the allegations, he decided to place the matter before Chief Justice S Manikumar for registration of a suo motu case.
"This Court certainly is aware that every story has two versions. But, going by the report, this is certainly a matter which should engage the attention of this Court. Therefore, I am of the view that a comprehensive report requires to be obtained from the Commissioner of Police Kochi, within whose jurisdiction the Police Station referred in the report is functioning. Resultantly, I direct the Registry to take on record the report in the Newspaper and obtain orders from the Honourable Chief Justice to register a suo motu writ petition," the Court ordered.
The Court decided to take up the matter after Advocate AV Jojo, a lawyer practicing at the Kerala High Court, brought to its notice a report in leading Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi on the plight of the family which was allegedly subjected to harassment by police officers and others.
The Government of Kerala, the Director General of Police, the State Police Chief and the Commissioner of Police, Kochi were arrayed as initial respondents in the case.
The Court also directed the Commissioner of Police, Kochi to ensure that the family is not subjected to any further vexation and to look into the aspects mentioned in the news story. The Commissioner has also been asked to file a report in a sealed cover before the Court.
In order to prevent the situation from becoming worse and given the seriousness of the allegations made against certain police officers, the Court deemed it appropriate to list this matter quickly, "so that there is no travesty of justice, if the facts mentioned in the news report are finally found to be true."
The matter will be taken up next on October 25, 2021
According to the news report, the couple from Delhi had come to Kerala eleven years ago and were engaged in footwear business.
The eldest daughter of the couple - parents of five children - ran away from home to meet her boyfriend who she had met online. She also took her younger sister with her to meet the boy in Delhi.
After the parents lodged a complaint with the police on finding the girls missing, they were told that the girls had boarded a train to Delhi. However, the police allegedly told the parents to track their daughters themselves. The couple apparently traced the girls with the assistance of the Delhi Police and the Haryana Police, with little to no help from the Kerala Police.
When the girls were finally tracked down, Kerala Police officers were flown to Delhi at the expense of the couple and it was found that the older daughter had allegedly been sexually assaulted by two men.
After returning to Kerala with the two girls and one of the accused, the police officers allegedly refused to release the girls into the parents’ custody. It is claimed that they demanded ₹5 lakh from the parents and tried to talk them into getting the older daughter married to the rape accused.
When the alleged demands of the police were not met by the parents, the couple’s elder sons were arrested for allegedly molesting the two girls. Their younger son, an 8th standard student, was summoned to the police station for questioning, the news report said.