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Mumbai top cop revises POCSO FIR circular; asks police to file a case if no foul play suspected

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After facing criticism over a circular which mandated that no FIR for molestation or offenses under the POCSO Act should be registered without the zonal DCP’s permission, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey has issued a revised order directing the city police to register FIRs immediately in cases of molestation and offenses under the POCSO Act where they do not suspect any foul play.

The revised order, issued on Friday, further said sometimes police complaints of molestation and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act are filed due to property issues, financial disputes, or personal enmity. In such cases, a senior police inspector should contact the Assistant Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of (DCP) concerned to take directives to register an FIR, the order said. The police station in-charges should maintain a station diary, mentioning to whom they have spoken (about permission to register the case). The ACP or the DCP giving the order to register the FIR should keep in mind the Supreme Court’s order in the Lalita Kumari case.

Before making any arrest in such cases, officials should take the nod of the ACP, and the zonal DCP has also been instructed to personally supervise the investigation in those cases.

On June 6, Mumbai Police chief Sanjay Pandey issued a circular, which said a First Information Report (FIR) for molestation or under the POCSO Act should be registered only upon a recommendation by an ACP and after receiving permission of the DCP of the zone.

The reason then cited for the directive was that many times false cases of such offenses are registered due to disputes over property, money, or because of personal feuds.

However, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had sought withdrawal of the order, saying it will violate the rights of sexual abuse victims. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had also asked Pandey to immediately withdraw the order. Pandey later said if the majority feels otherwise, the directive can be reconsidered. The Bombay High Court last Thursday asked the Maharashtra government if the controversial June 6 circular issued by the Mumbai police commissioner could be withdrawn.

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