Thiruvananthapuram, July 13 (BPNS)
The infamous pink police harassment case, which affected the image of the Kerala Police, is finally coming to an end. In the latest, the state has agreed to pay the compensation of Rs 1, 50,000 to an eight-year-old girl Devipriya and that too by recovering it from the officer – Rejitha – who harassed her.
Pink police is a special women protection squad of Kerala police.
The government had earlier approached the division bench of the Kerala High Court against the single bench verdict in December 2021 that ordered the state to award a compensation of Rs 1, 50,000 along with Rs.25, 000 as costs for court proceedings. It was on July 11 that the home department decided to comply with the order and withdrew the appeal before the division bench. The state had earlier taken the stance that the court cannot be ordered to pay compensation for the failure on the part of its employee.
The case relates to a Pink Police officer publicly accusing a girl and her father -Jayachandran – of stealing a mobile phone from a police vehicle and threatening to take them to the police station for a ‘search’. However, the said phone was found inside the police vehicle. The video of the very incident including the girl in a terrified state and crying had gone viral. The incident was reported in August 2021 at Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram.
Earlier, in the single bench verdict, justice Devan Ramachandran had criticized the state government for its ‘refusal to even recognize the child’s mental trauma and terror that she went through.
The court also made the observation that no one can dispute that Devipriya’s fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India – to lead a dignified and full life – had been flagrantly violated on account of this one unfortunate incident.
The court further observed that the officer, Rejitha, had acted virtually as ‘judge, jury, and executioner’ in her cause, and the state’s claim that she is entitled to protection under Section 113 of the Kerala Police Act, 2011 can only be seen to be in furtherance of prosecution’s effort to shield her from legal proceedings – be that Civil or Criminal – in future.
Meanwhile, the home department’s disciplinary action against Rejitha also invited criticism as it was pointed out that she was transferred to a place which is convenient to her.
Though the petitioner’s advocate had requested that Rs 50 lakh be ordered in compensation, the court then said that it cannot accede to this.