The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh Police for initiating "illegal proceedings" against a newly-wed couple in district Balrampur.
As per a press release, the couple had eloped from Balrampur district and had tied the knot in Mumbai. The girl's father, however, lodged a complaint of kidnapping with the Police, following which, the couple was summoned to Mathura Police Post of Balrampur district. The couple was, however, detained in separate cells once they arrived.
The Police then allegedly continued looking into charges connected with underage marriage of the couple despite the City Court having held both of them as being majors. Besides, it has been alleged that the girl was sexually assaulted by the Sub-Inspector and the husband was charged with rape under Section 376. The girl's father-in-law was also falsely implicated. Moreover, despite notices from the NHRC, the Superintendent of Police, Balrampur allegedly failed to give a clear picture of the incident.
Censuring the Police for its conduct, the release goes on to state, "Taking a serious exception to the functioning of the police, the Commission has observed that this is an extremely sordid case which has come before it. Not only the police officials had failed in conducting fair and correct investigation, they had also failed to appreciate the provisions of law, as far as, the applicability of Section 376 IPC is concerned.
The kind of illegalities, which the policemen committed in this case and the way these illegalities were allowed to be perpetuated by the supervisory police officers including the SP Balrampur, the Commission observed that it is "reminded of a very old comment, almost half a century old, made by Justice Shri A.N. Mulla, Allahabad High Court:
"There is not a single lawless group in the whole of the country whose record of crime comes anywhere near the record of that single organized unit which is known as the Indian Police Force…the police force in Uttar Pradesh is an organized gang of criminals…"
This case is a reminder that this pungent observation made almost fifty years ago is still valid and relevant at least for the Balrampur police of 2014." "
The NHRC has, therefore, sought to know from the State, through its Chief Secretary, as to why the woman, her husband and her father-in-law should not be paid Rs. 5 lakh, Rs. 3 lakh and Rs. 1.5 lakh respectively as monetary relief. The Chief Secretary has been given 3 months time to submit his reply on the following issues:
"(i) State shall obtain legal opinion from the Advocate General, UP about the maintainability of the charge sheet filed in the case FIR No. 348/2014, P.S. Lalia, District Balrampur. If the Advocate General is of the opinion that the charge sheet had been wrongly filed in the case, the State shall immediately take steps to withdraw the charge sheet from the trial court after following the due legal process.
(ii) Case FIR No.432/2014, P.S. Lalia against the accused Sub Inspector shall be taken up for further investigation after obtaining necessary permission from the competent court and the investigation of the case shall be entrusted to the State Crime Branch or CB CID. Further the investigation of case shall be conducted by an officer not below the rank of DSP.(iii) A detailed fact finding inquiry into this entire murky episode shall be got conducted by an officer, not below the rank of DIG to bring out the acts of omission and commission of police officers of various levels of District Balrampur including that of the officers at the Police station level, at the first supervisory level and at the level of Additional SP and SP and suitable action will be initiated against each and every officer whose conduct is found to be blameworthy during the course of this fact finding inquiry."