All Women Police Stations in Tamil Nadu reduced to shameless kangaroo courts: Madras High Court

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All Women Police Stations (AWPS) in Tamil Nadu, which were meant to be reformatory institutions, have been reduced to units of corruption, the Madras High Court recently remarked. [K Janarthan v. Mrs Vimala, Inspector of Police, All Women Police Station]
The Court also directed the State Director General of Police (DGP) to fine tune the system and bring such stations back to their “original alacrity.”

“…in Tamil Nadu, All Women Police Stations are reduced to stations of corruption and many times the despicable attitude of arrest first, and then proceed with the rest harassing either parties in matrimonial disputes depending on the money, muscle and power of the approaching parties is at alarming rise. It is disappointing to observe that an institution which has been introduced with great expectation to contribute towards the comity of the society has reduced itself into shameless Kangaroo Courts,” the order stated.

Justices R Subramanian and L Victoria Gowri of the Madurai Bench proceeded to issue certain directions to be implemented in all the 222 All Women Police Stations across the State.

The Bench was hearing a contempt petition filed by one K Janarthan, who sought action against an Inspector of Police, Vimala, stationed at the Thilagar Thidal Police Station in Madurai.

The petitioner had claimed that Vimala had failed to follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines in its Arnesh Kumar judgment and should, thus, be held guilty of contempt of court.

He claimed that following a complaint of domestic violence and harassment by his wife, Vimala registered a first information report (FIR) without any application of mind. He further told the Court that the police officer arrested him and his parents without conducting a proper preliminary inquiry.

Based on the FIR, Janarthan and his senior citizen parents were also remanded to judicial custody, he told the Court.

The High Court agreed that Vimala was indeed guilty of the charge of contempt. It, however, decided to let her off with a warning after observing that she had been present in court with “moist eyes and humility” and had been quick to apologise.

“Since the investigation of the said crime is not yet over, we refrain ourselves from going into the pros and cons of the said FIR. However, the unconditional apology tendered by Mrs.Vimala in her affidavit would purge her from contempt,” the Court ordered.

The Court proceeded to direct the DGP to ensure that all AWPS in the State were equipped with adequate infrastructure, including counselling rooms, qualified doctors and mental health professionals.

“We are duty bound to remind the Department of Home, State of Tamil Nadu that in the year 1992 when the first phase of establishing All Women Police Station was geared up, each and every All Women Police Station across the State was initially launched with these facilities, later which these stations were reduced to shambles and units of corruption. Precisely our directions to the Department of Home is intended only to fine tune an already existing system to its original alacrity,” the Court said.

Senior Advocate KPS Palanivel Rajan and K Prabhakaran appeared for the petitioner.

Additional Advocate General P Veera Kathiravan, APP S Ravi, and Government Advocate P Veerenthiran appeared for the contemnor.

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