Raj police took away woman unjustifiably; Delhi HC calls for action against officials

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday termed as completely unjustified the Rajasthan Police’s action of forcibly taking away a 26-year-old woman from the national capital in connection with an abduction case lodged by her family and directed action against the officials by the state.

A bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said it was not open for a male police officer to forcibly push the woman into a car, even when she was not an accused but a victim in the FIR lodged by her father and uncle, who were present during the hearing.

In pursuance to the high court’s Wednesday direction, the woman, who is pursuing fellowship from IIM Bangalore, was brought back to Delhi and produced before it through video conferencing.

She narrated the whole incident of her leaving the house following pressure of her family to get married and then the Rajasthan Police forcibly took her to Dhaulpur to record her statement before a magistrate.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the woman, through her pairokar (friend), seeking her own production and safety.

The woman further told the court that her mobile phone was snatched by the officials and on their way to Dhaulpur, they stopped the vehicle for dinner at a roadside restaurant where the police officials consumed liquor.

The bench said if the allegations made by the woman are true, they raise very serious issues with regard to working of the police force and call for an investigation and action.

We direct the whole department of State of Rajasthan to look into the aforesaid aspects and an inquiry be made and take appropriate action accordingly, the bench said, while dictating the order.

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The bench was critical of the fact that the woman was driven all the way to Rajasthan for recording of her statement before a magistrate which could have been done before a court here also.

We find that the action taken by the Rajasthan Police to forcibly take away the woman to Rajasthan with them despite her saying that she was at the office of ANHAD (NGO) was completely unjustified, the bench said.

The court also said that the manner in which the whole incident took place has left both the woman and her family members in a state of shock.

The woman’s father explained to the court that their entire family is highly educated and they have encouraged their children to go for higher studies which is why the woman was also pursuing fellowship from IIM Bangalore.

He said his daughter had not conveyed to him properly that she wanted to study further and did not want to marry at this stage.

He, however, assured the court that the family will not pressurise her due to this unfortunate incident or to get married and urged the bench to make his daughter understand to come home.

During interacting with the judges, the woman said marriage was not in her priority list and she was under family pressure to get married and was feeling threatened and scared due to which she had to run away.

She clarified that she does not want any action against her family and was only concerned about her safety.

The bench after interacting with the woman and her father and uncle noted, It appeared to us that the desire expressed by the woman that she does not want to get married to anyone at this stage and this did not register to the minds of parents and relatives who were keen to get her married

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It appears to us that the incident has sent a clear message that the woman does not want to get married at this stage, it said and listed the matter for further hearing on December 5.

As desired by the woman, the bench directed the Delhi Police to drop her to the residence of activist Shabnam Hashmi, the pairokar who has filed the petition on her behalf.

The bench asked the family not to contact the woman and if she wishes to meet them at a neutral place, she would contact them and said that everyone should maintain decorum during the meeting.

The woman also told the court that she was taken away from Delhi by the Rajasthan Police on Tuesday while she was having lunch in Jamia Nagar with her friends. On seeing the police party, she started running and screaming for help, however, she was forcibly caught by the officials and pushed into their vehicle.

The plea said it appeared that her father made a police complaint in Dhaulpur, Rajasthan, which is also her place of work for the alleged offences of kidnapping, abduction to compel for marriage and wrongful confinement.

It added that in pursuance of that FIR, Rajasthan Police came to Delhi and picked her up.

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