Mumbai: Police chief revises circular on FIRs under POCSO; file case unless foul play suspected

After facing criticism over a recent circular issued by him pertaining to the registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) of molestation cases and those under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Mumbai Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey on Friday issued a revised order directing police officials across the city to immediately register an FIR of molestation or crimes under POCSO Act in cases where they do not suspect any foul play.

In the first week of June, Pandey had issued a circular that mandated prior approval of the Deputy Commissioner of Police before registration of FIRs for each case of molestation as well as those under POCSO Act.

The move had drawn criticism from child rights organisations and was also challenged in court. A bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and VG Bisht had, on Thursday, directed the public prosecutor to seek instructions directly from the police commissioner himself and ask him whether he was ready to withdraw the

According to police officials, there are times when the police station receives a complaint only because the complainant wants to register a case of molestation or one under POCSO Act against someone due to a property dispute, previous enmity or other personal reasons.

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As per the revised order, in instances when police personnel suspect foul play, they have been directed to inform the senior police inspector. The information should then be forwarded to the assistant commissioner of police and the zonal deputy commissioner of police and permission should be sought before registering an offence.

The respective officer has been further directed to mention the same in the station house diary. The revised order further states that officials should not make any arrest, in cases where they suspect foul play, without taking necessary directions from the divisional assistant commissioner of police. The zonal deputy commissioner of police has also been instructed to personally supervise the investigation of these cases.

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