POCSO, molestation circular row: Mumbai top cop Sanjay Pandey challenges detractors to become cops

Vehemently defending his decision even as clarification is expected on Monday, Pandey cited a case that had been observed in Dharavi a day ago.

Gautam S. MengleUpdated: Monday, June 13, 2022, 12:03 AM IST
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Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey | Photo: PTI

A day after he said that he would clarify his now controversial circular on molestation cases, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey threw down an open challenge, saying that all those concerned about his decision should become Special Police Officers and register such cases themselves.

Pandey had earlier this week issued a circular saying that complaints of molestation under the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act should only be registered after consulting superior officers. The circular stated that this step was being taken to ensure that the laws were not misused in cases of personal or property-related disputes. The move had created a furore among lawyers and activists, who condemned the decision and Pandey on Saturday said that clarification would soon be issued.

During his weekly Facebook Live session on Sunday, Pandey referred to the ongoing controversy and said that he had a meeting with legal experts and activists regarding the issue.

“We have clearly stated that wherever there is a case, we will register it. But where there are disputes involved, you have to look properly at it. I said yesterday that if you are so damn confident, I will make you all Special Police Officers under provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). You register the cases, which will be binding on us. If you are more reasonable and responsible, I am ready to take your directions. I am still waiting for an answer to that question,” Pandey said.

Vehemently defending his decision even as clarification is expected on Monday, Pandey cited a case that had been observed in Dharavi a day ago.

“Two young boys were charged with gang rape and the Joint Commissioner (Law and Order) himself was sent to verify the matter. Meanwhile, around 500 people came to meet me. We ultimately found out that the case was bogus. We wanted to discharge them but couldn't. They are now out on bail,” Pandey said.

He added that the police receive so many cases on a daily basis where molestation charges are invoked simply in cases of property or other disputes and that once a man was arrested on such charges, his entire life was destroyed.

“What have we said in the circular to warrant such a cyclone? That there should be some supervision in such cases? Where there are no disputes, by all means, go ahead and register the cases. The DCPs and ACPs sit in the same buildings as the police station. An ACP is anyway supposed to visit his police stations every day. If they can not supervise the work of their own subordinates, what is the government paying them salaries for?” Pandey lashed out.

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